The Member of the Wedding: Character Profiles
Frankie is the main character of The Member of the Wedding. She is twelve years old and very tall for her age. Since the spring, she has begun to feel unsettled, as if she does not belong anywhere. She is caught between being a child and becoming a young woman. She has no mother to guide her through this transition. As the summer progresses, she becomes even more confused about herself, and when she is invited to her brother’s wedding, she determines to break with all she has ever known and start a new life with her brother and his bride.
Jarvis is Frankie’s older brother, a soldier who was stationed in Alaska for two years. When he comes to visit before his wedding, Frankie is disappointed that he brings her a doll appropriate for a little girl. Clearly, he is oblivious to Frankie’s feelings. She is just a kid to him.
Royal Quincy Addams
Royal Addams is Frankie’s father. He owns a jewelry store on the town’s main street. He appears to be a quiet man, set in his ways, but fond of his daughter. However, he seems oblivious to her internal turmoil this summer.
Berenice Sadie Brown
Berenice is the black cook in the Addams household. Her distinguishing feature is a blue glass eye. Frankie spends a great deal of time in the kitchen with Berenice, who has known her since she was little and speaks her mind about Frankie’s actions. Berenice fascinates Frankie because she has been married four times. Berenice is the closest thing to a mother that Frankie has.
Honey Camden Brown
Honey Brown is Berenice’s foster brother. Although he is black, he is light-skinned, almost Cuban looking, and very slim. He is also talented—he plays the horn—and is a top student at the colored high school. But he is “a boy God had not finished” Big Mama says; he was left without a purpose in life. He is restless and unsatisfied. He does not fit anywhere, and consequently he ends up in trouble.
Janice is Jarvis’s bride. Frankie is captivated by her lovely clothes and smart hairstyle, which contrasts sorely with her own boyish haircut and slovenly clothing. Seeing Janice, Frankie becomes aware of how she might appear to others outside the family and the town.
Mary becomes Frankie’s best friend when Frankie goes back to school in the fall, after the long, strange summer. Mary loves poetry and art, and she interests Frankie in these subjects.
Big Mama is Berenice’s mother. She is quite old and frail and lies all day in a bed in the front room of their house, from which she can see what is going on. She tells fortunes, and she predicts that Frankie will take a trip but will come back.
The Monkey Man
The Monkey Man is an organ grinder that Frankie has been fascinated with since she was a child. She follows his song around town on the day before the wedding, hoping to tell him about the wedding.
The Soldier at the Blue Moon
The soldier at the Blue Moon is one of the people to whom Frankie tells her news about being a member of the wedding. The soldier mistakes Frankie as being older than she really is and consequently flirts with her. To Frankie, he represents the worldliness for which she longs.
John Henry West
John Henry West is Frankie’s first cousin. The scrawny six-year-old boy is Frankie’s constant companion in putting on plays, playing dress-up, and just hanging out in general. This particular summer, however, Frankie finds him infuriatingly young yet old and familiar, too.
T.T. is Berenice’s sweetheart. He is a good man—unlike Berenice’s previous loves—but he does not “make her shiver.”