“The Member Of The Wedding” and “The Catcher The Rye” are both similar novels in the way adolescents want to belong to a group of people but there is one major difference. Frankie is looking to grow up so that she can fit in with the people around her while Holden wants to avoid adulthood completely as he sees the adult world as being false and corruptible. In “Member Of The Wedding Frankie feels like she doesn’t fit in to a child’s world.
This is due to a number of reasons. She wishes now to belong to a more adult society.
Frankie feels alienated from the rest of her friends. When they play underneath the arbour Frankie doesn’t “fit” because she is too tall. She resents this and sees her friends as “ugly screaming kids”. Frankie attempts to befriend the older girls but they say she “smells” and when they talk about sex Frankie doesn’t understand referring to this as “nasty lies”.
Here we see Frankie excluded from the adult world that she desires to belong to.
Frankie also feels excluded from her family. Her father won’t allow her to sleep in the same bed as him anymore. He says that she is “too big” now. He is rarely at home and when he is he hardly speaks to Frankie. She attempts to converse with him but he just “grunts” at her. Eventually when he does talk to her he doesn’t say much. After the wedding he shows a lack of understanding towards his daughter. She needs him but he tells her to wait until they are at home because then he will punish her for her behaviour. Berenice is the mother figure in her life but she returns to her own home and family in the evening. She feels excluded from Jarvis and Janice too because when they arrive home for a few days they invite Frankie’s father but not her. She feels this isn’t very fair as she is also part of the family. This heightens Frankies isolation and also heightens her desire to belong to a group.
Frankie wants to “belong” to the navy and then decides to give blood to the Red Cross. She is refused on both accounts because she is too young. She thinks the “freaks” and “criminals” are trying to make eye contact with her so she can join their group but Frankie does not want that. These are images of isolation. She also tries to form a group with the soldier. We know she is not ready for adulthood as she is not mature enough when she says that he was talking “double talk”. Frankie decides to join the wedding group with Jarvis and Janice. She even changes her name to F.Jasmine to make it similar to their names. She now starts to feel a connection with humanity. The feelings of alienation melt away but return after the wedding. She quickly realises that she is not a member of anything and feels crushed.
We see that the adult world excludes Frankie time and time again. The final straw is after the wedding. She realises that she was being foolish and develops a degree of insensitivity. She now has a new friend – Mary. They have many interests in common such as poetry and art. She now forms her own club and learns to exclude people like Bernice and feels like she is beginning to belong. If this degree of insensitivity is developed further Frankie will have no problems joining adulthoodIn the novel “The Catcher In The Rye” Holden Caulfield has the desire to belong to childhood. He sees the adults in this world as “phony” and therefore does not want to turn in to one. Holden has many options to deal with this problem.
One option would be for him to give in and step in to adulthood and live the life of a “phony”. He doesn’t really see himself doing this however as it would be going against what he believed in. Another option for him would be to become an adult and devise some career to be a “catcher in the rye”. He could also reject the world completely and become a monk. He dismisses this idea, as he does not look on religion too favourably. Death and suicide is his main option. It hovers over him all the time. If he were to die he would never become an adult and therefore stay as an eternal child. This is what happened to his brother Allie, who died from leukemia. He has been freeze framed forever. He will always be a child because death prevented him from falling over the cliff to adulthood. At Elkton Hills, Holden’s old school James Castle took the option of suicide when he threw himself out of a window after a boy had fought with him. Holden was close to committing suicide himself to get away from it all after his confrontation with Maurice but decided against it because of all the people that would be watching him and all the commotion it would cause. “I didn’t want a bunch of rubbernecks looking at me when I was all glory”.
The main reason Holden does not want to have sex is because losing his virginity will have meant that he has left his childhood and moved in to adulthood. This is the reason why he is so upset after Stradlater told him that he “made time with” Jane Gallagher. If this is true then he has not just lost Jane to Stradlater but to adulthood. It is no surprise that the people Holden likes are the children mentioned in the novel. He has a great admiration for Allie and also mentions his fondness of James Castle whom he hardly knew. This is because they will always be children, as they never made it to adulthood. Holden is also extremely fond of his sister Phoebe. When Holden sees her sleeping he remarks that she like all children “look all right” sleeping while adults “look lousy when they’re asleep”. Apart from Phoebe Jane is the only living person he had a good relationship with but he is afraid to get in contact with her now, as their relationship cannot be from one child to another anymore. Despite not making the leap in to adulthood himself, he is afraid that she has after her relationship with Stradlater. Of the adults, Holden looked on Mr. Antillini as one of the better ones. Mr. Antillini is friendly and understanding in relation to his views and gives him good advice. He becomes a role model and gives belief to Holden that there is goodness in the adult world. However this hope is all spoiled when Holden is woken with Mr. Antillini rubbing him on his head. Holden believes that he was trying to exploit him. In his eyes the man he believed to be the catcher in the rye turns out to be a phony like every other adult.
There are many symbols and metaphors in the novel, which Holden relates to childhood. He sees that he is changing and compares that to the museum that has stayed the same over the years. He wants things to be eternally fixed, like the statues of Indians and Eskimos in the museum. The pond is a metaphor of where Holden is in his life. It is “partly frozen and partly not frozen”, like Holden who is in a transitional stage. He is not a child anymore but is not quite an adult either.
Holden is convinced that somewhere in society there is some good. He has hope that good kids can grow up and become good adults too. It is this search for goodness and incorruption, which makes the novel. He looks for a role model to become a catcher in the rye before children fall over the cliff in to crazy adulthood but needs somebody to catch him first. The novel ends sadly with Holden having a nervous breakdown as he fails to find any goodness in the world and is unable to take that step in to adulthood.
Both Holden and Frankie achieve their desire to belong with varying success. Frankie seems like she is beginning to belong to a more adult world as she is maturing and will eventually make the step to adulthood. Holdens task differs in that he is trying to avoid the inevitability of adulthood which we must all face up to.
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“Catcher in the Rye” vs “The Member Of The Wedding”. (2018, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/catcher-in-the-rye-vs-the-member-of-the-wedding/