The novels The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers and The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies create a unique opportunity to investigate human and animal relationships given the similarity of their time frames and main characters. Both novels feature adolescent females struggling to resolve their identities against the backdrop of WWII. Frankie Addams in The Member of the Wedding and Esther Evans in The Welsh Girl share the additional characteristics of deceased mothers, distant fathers, and contacts with animals. Because these books are bildungsromans, they permit a comparative analysis as separate experiments in feminine growth with attention to animal influence. Frankie loses her sense of identity and Esther loses focus about her sense of self, yet from the results suggested by the novels, each of the girls finds strength and support from the creatures around and uses these connections as catalysts for completing developmental stages. Frankie and Esther’s growth toward autonomy leads to a solidification of their respective identities and successful preparation for adulthood.

Date of publication

Spring 4-27-2018

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Carolyn Tilghman, Dr. Stephanie Odom, Dr. David Strong


Master of Arts in English