The Member of the Wedding

Seeing the Reality of Adulthood: Eye Symbolism in The Member of the Wedding 10th Grade

The Member of the Wedding, by Carson McCullers discusses the life of a 12 year old girl, Frankie, who is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Frankie feels disconnected from the rest of the world, having lost her mother when she was born, and has a distant father who is barely mentioned. In the novel, she spends much of her time with her housekeeper, Berenice, and her cousin, John Henry West, as she comes to realize that she is not a member of anything. When she hears that her brother is getting married, she desperately latches on to the idea of being a member of the wedding and attempts to jump into adulthood. However, she comes to realizes that adulthood is not as a great as she had pictured it and learns about the dangers of growing up.

McCullers uses the symbol of the eyes to illustrate the inner conflicts characters face throughout the novel about the realities of adulthood. Berenice’s glass eye symbolizes her desire to remain young. Berenice is described in the beginning of the novel as having “a left eye that was bright blue glass. It stared out fixed and wild from her quiet, colored face, and why she wanted a blue eye nobody human would ever know. Her right eye was dark and sad” (McCullers 5). Berenice’s natural...

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