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The Member of the Wedding: Novel Summary: Part Three, pp. 149-158

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Part Three, pp. 149-158

Frankie decides that “the wedding has not included her, but she would still go into the world.” She writes her father a letter telling him not to come after her because she is running away, she must go away. As she writes, the moths again flatten themselves against the screen, drawn to the light in her room. Once her father is asleep and John Henry seems asleep, Frances sneaks into her father’s room and steals his wallet and his pistol. John Henry, however, hears her as she eases out the screen door, and when he calls for her he wakes her father. Frances makes a run for it.

When Frances takes a moment to open the wallet, she discovers very little money in it and decides she will have to hop a train, like hobos do, only she does not know exactly how. The station is closed, anyway, at that time of night, so she has to hide out to wait for trains to come. She ends up in an alley, and for a brief moment she puts the pistol to her head, but she realizes that death is not what she wants. Death is “nothing but pure terrible blackness that went on and on and never ended until the end of all the world.” She very much wishes someone was with her.

Frances thinks of the soldier. If he she did not kill him, perhaps he would marry her and take her away? Big Mama had said she would marry someone with blue eyes, and the soldier’s reddish hair is close to blonde. So far, Big Mama’s predictions had been right. Why not this one?

Frances heads to The Blue Moon. But on the way, she connects three things: the thing the boarders did in the Addam’s front room, the incident behind the garage with Barney Mackean, and the incident in the hotel room with the soldier. But she heads to the Blue Moon anyway because she must “find somebody, anybody, that she could join with to go away. For now she admitted that she was too scared to go into the world alone.”

The “Law,” however, catches her. Frances is sure that when the officer confronts her in the Blue Moon, he is calling a car to take her to jail for the soldier’s death or for the knife she stole. She sees the soldier come in, but he means nothing to her now. When the policeman asks her where she was headed, Frances simply tells him “Flowering Branch,” one of the ugly towns they passed through to go to the wedding. She cannot now conceive of going out in the big world as she once dreamed of doing.

Frances is afraid again, like she felt in the spring. She feels alone and disconnected again from everyone else in the world. She sees the bar owner, to whom she has told the story of the wedding only yesterday, and now he seems like a total stranger.


Frankie retaliates with words mustered in a letter, but her bravado fades quickly when she is at last confronted with reality in an adult world that she is not equipped to navigate. That she has accepted reality and given up her fantasy is clear when she does not tell the policeman that she is going somewhere worldly and big, but she instead names a very real place, Flowering Branch, a place that has a fantasy name but a very real and ugly face.


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