Frankie Adddams

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In her introduction to The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers, author Dorothy Allison comments on McCullers’ portrayal of girls as “so complex… raw and vibrant” that one can “understand immediately how it is to be driven manic by …hopes and dreams, and fears" (viii). The generalizability of this statement is questionable; its applicability to Frankie Addams, however, is not. Frankie swings between feelings fear and giddiness and “dreams of finding a place in some form of collective … [which] she associates … more with movement and change than with stasis and fruition” (Millar 89). The stage directions point to the constant fluctuations: Frankie is “a dreamy, restless girl, and periods of energetic activity alternate with rapt attention…show more content…
Mr. Addams comments about her incessant chatter about the wedding since learning of the engagement (4, cf. 14). Frankie is prone to walking restlessly or running around the kitchen excitedly; she bounces from one subject to another without slowing down to allow others to catch up with her stream-of-consciousness manner of conversing (17, 88 24, 23). The young girl bangs her head on the table, throws a knife, spins around, places the coal scuttle on her head, goes throughout the kitchen punching things, and knocks her head against the door jamb (40, 41, 50, 61, 62, 86). She obsesses over her name, her height and hair color, her looks, and her impression on Janice and Jarvis (26-27, 28, 30, 38-39). In addition to threatening and attempting suicide, Frankie also theorizes that she might be better off in jail, talks of shooting the girls who rejected her, wishes to die, and contacts the police over Charles the missing cat (56, 108, 35, 21, 31, 34). She intends to stretch her hair and is made “nervous” by the sight of a doll (65, 27). Her wild prancing about the kitchen is extended to the town where she “went all over the complete town and talked to nearly everybody in it” (53). She bounces from the slough of despond to the dizzying heights of delusions of grandeur without effort or thought. Her prepossession with her brother and sister-in-law to be is boundless. The mere sight of the couple…show more content…
She experiences “spiritual isolation-the type of isolation that results in an oppressive loneliness, in an intense desire to belong, and, failing these, in a need to escape” (Dedmond 50). Constante González Groba, professor of American literature at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, contends, “All the action in the novel [and the play] originates in Frankie's desire to escape from her present situation” (137). The fact that she wishes to be someone else (apparently anyone else) bolsters this contention (McCullers 18). She seems equally desirous to be anywhere else—Hollywood, “Alaska, China, Iceland, South America,” New York, or Winter Hill (17, 37, 87, 103, 52). The twelve-year old expresses willingness to journey to “whatever place they [Janice and Jarvis] will ever go” (52). After her brother and new sister-in-law leave without her, she is determined to run away from her previous existence, the kitchen, and the town even if she has to disguise herself as a boy and join the Merchant Marines (103). Frankie’s flight is not nearly so far or fabulous as her dreams of it had been and she ends up “in the alley behind Papa’s store … scared”

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