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Breakfast at Tiffany's

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Later, Capote claimed that the inspiration for Holly Golightly came from a German refugee, a young girl of just 17 years who arrived in New York City at the beginning of World War II. “Very few people were aware of this, however, because she spoke English without any trace of an accent,” he said. “She had an apartment in the brownstone where I lived and we became great friends.” He claimed that Holly’s friendship with gangster Sally Tomato was fictionalized, but based on true events that happened to the real Holly. Gerald Clarke said that Capote told him a similar story. “But in the version I heard she was Swiss. He even gave me her name. I could never find any of his friends who remembered her.” Clarke was also well aware of women who continued to claim they were the real Holly Golightly even decades later, all of them alleging they were friends with Capote at one time or another. “There were lots of women like that in those days,” he said, “and my guess is that Holly owed something to any number of them.” Holly talks to the narrator about why she left O.J. behind in California, saying she doesn’t feel guilty even though she knows she should. Still, she says that she was only thinking of becoming an actress because she didn’t know what else to do. She then tells the narrator that fame would be too much for her at the moment—after all, she’s not yet attached to her own life. That’s why her apartment is so sparsely furnished and why her cat doesn’t have a name. Going on, Holly says she sometimes gets “the mean reds,” which is different than having the blues. The mean reds, she says, is a kind of “angst,” and the only way she knows how to deal with it is by taking a cab to Tiffany’s jewelry store and gazing at its beauty. This makes her feel calm, she says, because it feels like nothing bad could ever happen at Tiffany’s. Holly claims that if she could find a place in real life that made her feel like this, she would settle down immediately.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Themes | LitCharts Breakfast at Tiffany’s Themes | LitCharts

One day, Holly tells the narrator that she gave his story to O.J., who liked it but thinks he’s wasting his time writing about things nobody cares about. Holly says she agrees, which creates a nasty falling out between her and the narrator. Over the next few days, the narrator keeps his distance, but he soon notices a strange man lingering outside Holly’s apartment. One day, the man follows him to a café, and when the narrator finally confronts him, he learns that the suspicious man is Doc Golightly—Holly’s much older husband. Sitting at a diner counter, Doc Golightly explains that Holly—whose real name is Lulamae—wandered onto his property in Texas when she was still a girl, having run away from nasty foster parents with her brother Fred. Doc caught both Holly and Fred stealing from his farm, so he took them in. When Holly turned 14, he married her, and she eventually ran away despite seeming happy.Finally, Holly emerges and tells O.J. that the narrator is a writer, though O.J. is uninterested. Gradually, the living room fills with men who all seem surprised by the crowd, each one having thought Holly invited him exclusively. The narrator identifies the most boisterous and confident person in the room as Rusty Trawler, who gregariously makes martinis while the narrator stands by the wall and pretends to read the books on Holly’s shelves. As he does so, he finds a newspaper clipping about Rusty, which explains that his parents died when he was a boy, turning Rusty into a highly-publicized millionaire orphan. Ever since then, Rusty has gotten a scandalous divorce and gone through legal battles that have appeared in the tabloids. He is also a widely-suspected Nazi-sympathizer. As the narrator reads these things, Holly approaches, deflecting the narrator when he asks about her visit to Sally Tomato that week.

Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote - review - The Guardian Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote - review - The Guardian

That evening, Holly is arrested because of her associations with Sally Tomato, who used her to run a drug ring from inside prison. O.J. who posts her bail. When the narrator goes to get Holly some clothes, he finds a man in Holly’s apartment. The man gives the narrator a letter from José, in which he explains that he can’t be with Holly because it would ruin his political career. The narrator delivers this letter to Holly, and she tells him she lost her baby while riding after him that day in the park. She then says she plans to go to Brazil when they let her out; not to chase José, but to avoid a prison sentence. The narrator hates this idea, but he brings her suitcase and cat to Joe Bell’s bar as instructed. There, Joe calls a limo to take Holly to the airport. On the way, Holly tells the driver to stop in Harlem, where she lets out the cat. After doing this, though, she screams at the driver to stop and frantically tries in vain to find the cat. The narrator promises to keep looking for the cat after she’s gone, so Holly leaves. The woman in me really likes Audrey Hepburn because she is successful at what she’s doing, she’s sort of in charge of herself, and is a realist beyond being so cute and attractive,” said film critic Judith Crist in 2009. “That appeal—a woman’s appeal—comes from the very basic idea of the gamine, and not just the gamine’s physical being, but the idea of her cleverness. Marilyn didn’t have that, but Audrey did. As a gamine, shrewdness was available to her. So she’s a call girl, but we let her have it. There’s even something very appealing about it. We won’t admit it, but don’t we, really, all secretly admire her for it? Because she gets away with it? Because she’s so imperious, and at the same time is slightly, shall we say, immoral?” So we’re suddenly in a classic rom-com situation, and their final-scene kisses in the pouring rain becoming the blueprint for the genre, from Four Weddings and a Funeral to The Notebook. The novella meanwhile – despite the frothy, fizzing readability of Capote’s shimmering prose – leaves a more bitter taste, Holly scooting away in a cab never to be seen again. Golightly is a wild thing; there’s no containing her, no making her stay. She keeps on going lightly over the world, even if the need to keep reinventing herself starts to look more like a heavy burden.The moment when you finally understand why the book is called "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is the one when you find out Holly's biggest dream and the main purpose in life. The main idea of the book is expressed in Holly's words "Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell,[…] If you let yourself love a wild thing, you'll end up looking at the sky." In this book, "the wild thing" is a metaphor for Holly, a person who listens only to her heart, breaks the rules and doesn't really care about the future. She is that kind of woman which can't be tamed and who is in a continual search for the place which she calls "home". I was madly in love with her,” Capote told Gerald Clarke, author of the 1988 biography Capote. “I just thought she was absolutely fantastic! She was one of the two or three great obsessions of my life. She was the only person in my whole life that I liked everything about. I consider her one of the three greatest beauties in the world, the other two being Gloria Guinness and Garbo. But Babe, I think, was the most beautiful. She was in fact the most beautiful woman of the twentieth century … [S]he was also the most chic woman I have ever known.”

Breakfast at Tiffany’s | novella by Capote | Britannica

Holly and the narrator have a drink, and the narrator tells her that he’s a writer. Holly says she’ll help him become well-known and asks him to read a story aloud. When he does, she critiques it. This deeply hurts the narrator, but he still finds Holly appealing and she endears herself to him once more. As someone used to sharing personal information, Holly tells the narrator that she visits a mobster named Sally Tomato in prison every Thursday, explaining that Sally’s lawyer approached her and asked if she would keep Sally company. Holly agreed, she tells the narrator, so she goes to see Sally each week, delivering coded messages, though she mainly enjoys the man’s company and doesn’t think too much about whatever information she’s communicating. In the end, I find that each of us has to decide for themselves what they like best: the movie or the book, as they both are extraordinary creations. The narrator becomes increasingly interested in what happens in Holly’s apartment. Mag moves in, and she intends to marry a Brazilian politician named José starts coming to see her. Mag intends to marry him. At one point, the narrator learns that a small literary magazine has accepted one of his stories, and he rushes to show the letter to Holly, who insists that they go to lunch to celebrate. They spend the afternoon walking around together. The narrator shows Holly a large birdcage in a shop window that he has been admiring for quite some time. She admits it’s beautiful, but hates the idea of restricting a bird’s freedom. That Christmas, Holly gives the narrator the birdcage.After selling the screen rights for Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Paramount, it became somewhat common knowledge that Capote had one and only one actress in mind to play Holly Golightly: little girl lost herself, Marilyn Monroe. Several myths surrounding the actress not getting cast have continued to circulate, with the general consensus being that Marilyn was already considered to be a high-maintenance diva and too much of a liability, so Paramount refused to even consider her. But that was never entirely true. While there are several “swans” who are believed to have contributed to the fictional creation of Holly, including Gloria Guinness, Oona O’Neill Chaplin, Carol Marcus, and Gloria Vanderbilt, there is one in particular that is thought to have gone above and beyond in terms of inspiration: Babe Paley, the wife of William S. “Bill” Paley, founder of the CBS television network.

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