Free Study Guide for The Member of the Wedding-McCullers|
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THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING - FREE STUDY GUIDE
The novel takes place during the second World War. McCullers maintains her child’s point of view as she includes this historical detail. Frankie thinks of the war in a handful of images she’s gathered from the radio. At one point, Berenice mentions hearing on the radio that the French had chased the Germans from Paris. Frankie only responds by repeating the word "Paris" and then continuing with her monologue about changing her name to Jasmine so her name would match the first two letters of her brother and his fiancee’s names. The war is something that Frankie experiences cosmically. It is an epic dislocation of her world. A world that once was neatly mapped on her school’s globe in different colors is now loose and wild and changeable.
One of the events of Frankie’s summer that throws her into her August funk is that in April, she commits "a queer sin" with Barney MacKean, which makes her hate him and want to kill him. McCullers represents this first sexual encounter as Frankie has experienced it. She has named it a huge and unfathomable sin and she has repressed it as much as possible. She has felt anger and rage about it, but these emotions by August have subsided and she has begun to forget about it. The reader should note that McCullers was breaking new ground in representing adolescent sexuality in non-condemnatory ways. The reader gets the impression that Frankie is being rather too hard on herself for a simple sexual exploration and that it is a shame she doesn’t have anyone to discuss it with.
Frankie’s twin insights in this chapter are first, that she doesn’t belong to any club and second, that Janice and Jarvis are "the we of me." The rest of the novel is Frankie’s attempt to achieve this dream. She changes her name to F. Jasmine Addams.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The Member of the Wedding".
. 09 May 2017