The Member Of The Wedding – Carson McCullers


Chosen by Sophia

Troubled teen and tomboy Frankie Addams becomes obsessed with her brother’s wedding plans as she seeks to become a member of something important.

Frankie Addams is an awkward twelve year old out of school for the summer. She lives with her widowed father and a housekeeper named Berenice. Her father is a jeweller in the small town they call home and often not home. As a result, Frankie is closer to Berenice than her father is often looking for belonging. What’s more she is tall, has cropped hair, and is a tomboy, so is no longer included in the group of neighbourhood girls. She struggles with her identity and self-esteem.

Frankie reads about the events of World War II and imagines it as an adventure, of being part of something that is easily defined. When her brother Jarvis announces his upcoming wedding, Frankie is elated. Through a combination of wishful thinking and youthful naiveté, she becomes convinced that she will go with her brother and his bride on their honeymoon, and live with them wherever they go afterward. Believing that she has solved the problem of not belonging anywhere, she begins planning for her new life.

Parts of The Member of the Wedding are autobiographical. McCullers lived in a small home town, had a jeweller father and African-American servants. Frankie’s feelings of awkwardness are drawn from McCullers who said she felt like a gangly misfit and whose tomboyish ways made it difficult to fit in with boys or girls her age.

She stood in the corner of the bride’s room, wanting to say: I love the two of you so much and you are the we of me. Please take me with you from the wedding, for we belong to be together.

❖ “There is a kind of awkwardness to this book which makes it uncomfortable but distinctive. Frankie IS the story and she is a perfect character. She embodies the need to belong and I’m sure everyone could relate to her because of this. Exceptionally well written and enjoyable.” – Rachel


Published 1946
Houghton Mifflin Publishing
176 pages

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