Identity and Belonging Essay
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers tells the story of Frankie and how she became truly confused about her person and placement. Frankie’s identity crisis and her need to belong comes at a price. However, in overcoming such tragedy, Frankie Addams finds her true self. In order for Frankie to truly find her placement, she must overcome the struggle and confusion with her identity and her need to belong. Frankie’s name changes, her confusion in finding her sexuality, and her struggle to belong, together reveal her character dilemma and her need to fit in.
Frankie has reached the awkward stage in her life where she fears she will become a freak and fears she does not fit in anywhere. Disconnected and alone, “[Frankie] belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person… and was afraid” (1). Frankie’s disconnectedness creates an eagerness for her to find some belonging in her life. At twelve, the margins of childhood and teenage years, Frankie is in the uncomfortable state of becoming. The girls she played with last summer are now too old and will not let her join their club. Frankie is very upset and angry with those girls and often spies on them. The fact that Frankie spends most of her time with her older housekeeper and six year old cousins throughout the summers shows us just how disconnected she happens to be from any children her own age. The author states, “And what would be a lady who is over nine feet high? She would be a Freak” (19). Frankie, an awkward looking girl certainly is afraid of being a Freak.
She does not seem to fit in with anyone so she worried that she might end up being a Freak and become a member of the Freak House. This shows just how fearful Frankie reveals herself to be toward being alone and not fitting in. Due to her struggle with fitting in and after hearing about her brother’s upcoming wedding, she latches onto the idea of becoming part of the wedding, a member of a unified group. Frankie states, “they are the we of me” (42). Her internal conflict defines the struggle of wanting to be part of something or a member of anything. As a result, she decides to latch on to the wedding for that purpose. Her desperate need to belong leads her to become obsessed with being a member of the wedding. She later realizes after the wedding she was kidding herself to believe she could actually belong in more than a distant way. With Mary Littlejohn, Frankie finally finds a place of belonging and connectedness. Feeling isolated and alone in the alley, Frankie finally realizes she cannot go into the world alone and needs a companion. This marks the changing moment for Frankie where she realizes and completely understands her placement and identity.