Genre The Genre of this novel is a typical, coming- of-age story – drama - fiction
Narration Narration – The narration is almost exclusively from the point of view of Frankie.
The novel can be divided into three main sections: Part 1 – confusion Part 2 – the day before; in the town Part 3 – leaving home; the wedding finale
Characters: Frankie Addams - Protagonist, 12 years old – daughter of Royal Quincy Addams & cousin of John Henry West In between childhood and adolescence/young adulthood, Frankie feels alienated and is trying to run away from her drab life Changes her name to F. Jasmine Addams, and then Frances
Characters: John Henry West 6 year old first cousin of Frankie very bright symbolises childhood very calm in contrast with Frankie dies at the end of the novel represents Frankies entering adolescence and leaving childhood behind
Characters: Bernice Sadie Brown Addams family housekeeper – straight forward, voice of reason
Characters: Royal Quincy Addams Frankies father, a widower - fairly removed from the actions of the novel
Characters: Soldier unnamed, on three days leave, and after sex - represents the harsh reality of adult life
Themes Some of the themes present in The Member of the Wedding are:
Theme - Fear …….with somebody sleeping in the dark with her, she was not so much afraid. It was the Summer of fear.
Frankie is on the brink of emotional and sexual maturity she feels isolated she does not belong to any group she has little control over her physical growth
Obsesses about running away her brother and his new wife after the wedding. Growing up is very challenging - not an instant process. Frankie tries to transform her appearance and changes her name to F. Jasmine but her encounter with the soldier highlights how innocent she really is.
Feeling afraid for the changes that are taking place in us is normal.
Theme - Belonging We need to feel we belong to a group to feel empowered At the start of the novel, Frankie is struggling with who she is, who she was as a child and who she will become as a young adult. Central to these identify issues is the fact that she feels alienated from others and the world.
Theme – Alienation & Loneliness Afraid and feeling deep isolation, Frankie learns that her older brother Jarvis is to marry. She irrationally decides that on the wedding day she will somehow join her brother and his bride to become a third member of their wedding.
Theme - Identity As we grow through life our identify changes or is modified. This can lead to uneasy and uncomfortable years in adolescence trying on what fits for us.
Most importantly we may try on different facades images, friendship groups – growing up into who we truly are is a process of trial and error. It is important not to fall for superficial change.
In the novel, Frankie changes her name to F. Jasmine as it sounds more mature and sophisticated, but this is just a superficial change.
Themes - Journey of Growth The Member of the Wedding is a coming of age novel – also referred to as a bildungsroman text. Frankie is on an inner quest to grow and develop into a young adult. She is frustrated and restless, impatiently waiting for something better.
Themes - Journey of Growth The quest is often symbolised by a physical journey, such as travelling to the wedding. At the wedding Frankie must really grow up and feel the pain of her delusional belief that she would be able to tag along with the married couple.
Themes - Journey of Growth Journeys of inner growth often feature loss, painful realisations as turning points. John Henrys abrupt death symbolises Frankies transition into young adulthood and leaving her childhood behind.
Quotes Here are some interesting quotes that are relevant to the Context of Identity and Belonging: She loved her brother and the bride and she was a member of the wedding.
Quotes Is it cold up there?(teasing by children to Frankie) It seemed to her that they had looked at her in a secret way and tried to connect their eyes with hers, as though to say: we know you. (about the prisoners in the jail)
Quotes They are the we of me. We all of us somehow caught. (Berenice)