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THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING - FREE BOOK NOTES
This was the first time things bothered Frankie enough to make her cry. Sometimes she gets up early in the morning and go outside into the yard looking at the sunrise sky. She asks questions, but the sky doesn’t answer. When she sees into houses in the evenings when she walks along the sidewalks, she often feels like crying. She begins to be afraid. She wonders who she is and what she will do in the world. One night in April, she was going to bed and her father looked at her and asked what such an old girl was doing still sleeping with her father. He made her start sleeping in her own room. She began then to have a grudge against her father. She began to go around town. She would also call her best friend Evelyn Owen who owned a football suit and a Spanish shawl. They would dress up and go out. Even that began to lose its charm for Frankie. She walked around town alone feeling sad. She often tried to break the sad mood by doing sudden things, like going home and putting the coal shuttle on her head and walking around the kitchen. She did anything that suddenly occurred to her and what she does is always the wrong thing to do. She tells Berenice one day, "I just wish I could tear down this whole town." Berenice urges her to tear it down, or do anything as opposed to standing around with a gloomy face.
Frankie had begun to get herself into trouble. She broke the law repeatedly. She takes her father’s pistol and shoots it in a vacant lot. She steals a knife from Sears. She commits "a secret and unknown sin" with Barney MacKean in the Mackean’s garage. She felt a "shriveling sickness in her stomach" when she thought of this sin. She hates and wants to kill Barney. She plans the murder, imagining that she’ll use a gun or a knife.
Her best friend Evelyn Owen moves away from town and now Frankie has no one to play with. She thinks every day of "lighting out for" South America or Hollywood or New York city. She can’t decide which place she should choose and how she’ll get there alone. By the end of the summer, Frankie had settled into this horrible routine of doing nothing but feeling afraid. She had lost her fear of Barney, her father, and the Law. She began even to forget the sin she committed in the MacKean’s garage. She stops paying attention to the summer noises and she stops standing in the yard at night to look at the summer stars. Each day is the same, except it is longer, and "nothing hurt her any more."
On that Sunday when her brother brought his fiancee home, Frankie realized everything had changed. She tells Berenice that it gives her a kind of pain to think of the couple. Berenice offers the advice that Frankie should just refrain from thinking about them. Frankie sits on the bottom of the staircase staring into the kitchen. She remembers that on the day her brother came, a curious silence had entered the house. The radio had been on all day every day that summer. When he came, he turned it off. She had come into the room and the first sight of her brother and Janice had "shocked her heart." She felt feelings "like the spring."
She asks Berenice how old she was when she married for the first time. Berenice had already changed into her Sunday clothes and sat in the kitchen waiting for Honey and T. T. Williams to come and get her. The three of them will eat supper at the New Metropolitan Tea Room and then "sashay around town." She tells Frankie she was thirteen years old and she married just because she wanted to. She says she hasn’t grown an inch since then. Frankie is amazed to hear that marrying stops a woman’s growth. Berenice affirms that it does.
Frankie remembers Berenice’s stories of her four marriages. The first had been Ludie Freeman, a brickmason and Berenice’s favorite. He died after nine years of marriage. The other three of Berenice’s husbands were "all bad, each one worse than the one before." The stories of them make Frankie sad. The first of these was a liquor-drinker. The next one went crazy and Berenice finally left him. The last one gouged out Berenice’s eye and stole her furniture.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Member of the Wedding".
. 09 May 2017