Breakfast at Tiffany's Section 6

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After a fight with Holly, the narrator decides to leave the birdcage by her apartment door. This symbolizes his desire to cut ties with her. Later he finds the birdcage outside with the rest of the garbage. He “rescues” the birdcage from being thrown away, but he is still angry.

One day the narrator notices a “provocative man” lurking around the brownstone, and looking at Holly’s card. After the man follows the narrator for several blocks to a bar, the narrator talks to this man and learns that he is Doc Golightly, Holly’s husband, and Holly's name is really Lulamae Barnes.

Doc Golightly tells the narrator "Son, I need a friend" (Capote 66). In the beginning the narrator assumes that the man is Holly's father. "You're Holly's father." (Capote 66). The narrator starts to laugh because of "nerves".

Doc tells the story of finding Lulamae (Holly) and her brother trying to steal food from him in Tulip, Texas. He learns that both of their parents had died from Tuberculosis and that all of the children, including Lulamae and Fred had been sent to live with mean people. He took in Lulamae and her brother and allowed them to live with him and his four children on his farm. He later married Lulamae when she was fourteen and told the narrator that she became very "plump and happy" and did not understand why she would have just "run off" the way that she did. Doc Golightly had obtained her current address from her brother Fred, who was in the Army.

Doc pleads with the narrator to be his friend and "let her know I am here." (Capote 70). The narrator is eager to reunite Doc with Holly for his own personal gain. He wants Holly to be embrassed in front of her friends. The narrator starts to feel "ashamed" of his "anticipations" about the meeting. Doc is nervous and wonders if he looks ok to meet his wife. Although, Holly was expecting her brother Fred, her reaction to seeing Doc Golightly was very surprising. She acted very calm and not at all ashamed to see her husband. They hug and talk briefly before the narrator "squeezes past them to return to his own apartment" (Capote 72).


  • Sheepishly (63)- Showing embarassment; meekness, timidity.
  • Capitulation (63)- Act of surrendering.
  • Exhibitionist (63)- A perversion marked by a tendency to indecent exposure.
  • Perpetrator (64)- To bring about a crime or a deception.
  • Vestibule (64)- A passage, hall, or room between the outer door and the interior of a building.
  • Provocative (64)- Tending to provoke, stimulate, or excite.
  • Coloratura (64)- A soprano specializing in elaborate and ornate vocal music.
  • Plaintive (65)- Expressive of suffering or woe.
  • Implausible (68)- Unbelievable or hard to believe or imagine.
  • Dovetailed (68)- To fit skillfully together.
  • Churren (67)- Children
  • TB (68)- Tuberculosis: a highly variable communicable disease of humans and some other vertebrates caused by the tubercle bacillus and rarely in the U.S. by a related mycobacterium (Mycobacterium bovis) and characterized by toxic symptoms or allergic manifestations which in humans primarily affect the lungs.
  • Brownstone (70)- A reddish brown sandstone used for building. A dwelling faced with brownstone.
  • Pomeranian (65)- The Pomeranian is a compact, short-backed, active toy dog. He has a soft, dense undercoat with a profuse harsh-textured outer coat.
  • Braille (64)-A code which enables blind persons to read and write. It was invented by a blind Frenchman, Louis Braille, in 1829. Braille is comprised of a rectangular six-dot cell on its end, with up to 63 possible combinations using one or more of the six dots. Braille is embossed by hand (or with a machine) onto thick paper, and read with the fingers moving across on top of the dots.


The narrator rescues the birdcage because it is a symbol for home. To Holly, a home is a place where you are kept or owned, but to the narrator the birdcage is something he must recover. The narrator is "always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods.(3)" The author was fond of this theme of looking for home and sharing home with someone dear. As a child, Capote was frequently alone in a locked hotel room. The hotel staff would be instructed not to answer his frightened screams. He would eventually collapse exhausted on the bed, or in front of the door as he waited for his mother or father to return (Clark 14).

The narrator is both surprised and a little excited to find who and why Doc Golightly was standing outside the brownstone. The narrator had not been speaking to Holly for quite some time and part of him wanted a reason to initiate a "truce", but he did not want to admit that he enjoyed Holly's friendship. The other part of him saw this as an opportunity to call her bluff and show everyone that she truly was a fake and a fraud. Perhaps he was also surpised to learn that Holly's real name was Lulamae Barnes, a name that truly did not fit the Holiday Golightly that he knew.

When Doc leaves without Holly, it is further evident that she is a true "wild thing" and that Doc has accepted. The fact that he does not fight harder to have her come back with him shows how much he is still "under her spell". Holly had an innate ability to make everyone fall in love with her. To some degree, she was aware of this and that is the reason why she told the ones that fell in love with her "not to fall in love with a wild thing". She was warning them that she would only disappoint and hurt them, but they never listened. Holly was afraid of commitment, even though deep down she desperately wanted stability.

In this way, I believe Capote was trying to address the compassionate side of most people. When they see someone who is clearly on a path leading to destruction, they try to help them whether through influence or suggestion. However, as Capote so clearly showed us, you can't save someone who does not want to be saved; Holly is one of those people who does not want to be saved and does not even feel the need to be saved. She knows what it takes for her self preservation and will do whatever is necessary to maintain that. According to Gerald Clarke, Tiffany was "bright, brash, and somewhat scatty" (Clarke 291). She was modeled after quite a few of the woman that Capote knew during the days when he was writing this book. But maybe she was also modeled after Capote as well. Everyone talks about how the narrator is so alike Capote, so much so that he is often called the Capote Narrator. No one really looks at the similarities between Capote and Holly. Clarke states that Capote "wanted to be able to entertain, as well as to be entertained... Holly Golightly had similar yearnings for permanence and stability." (Clarke 296). In Clarke's Capote: A Biography, Oliver Smith is quoted as saying: "In some part of his nature he [Capote] was trying to find a home." (Clarke 296)

Study Questions

  1. What is the significance of the birdcage to the narrator, to Holly?
  2. How is the birdcage similar to the "odd wood sculpture" (6)?
  3. Why does the narrator retrieve the birdcage when he sees it outside while leaving?
  4. Why are Holly and the narrator not speaking to each other?
  5. What does Madame Spanella circulate among the brownstone tenants in referance to Holly?
  6. What does the narrator say that Madame Spanella says about Holly?
  7. What season is it when the narrator first notices Doc Golightly examining Holly's mailbox?
  8. What is Doc Golightly wearing?
  9. Where is the narrator going when Doc Golightly follows him?
  10. How busy is the restaurant when the narrator arrives?
  11. What does Doc Golightly show the narrator at the counter?
  12. How many children does Doc Golightly say that Holly had?
  13. What is the name of Doc Golightly's oldest daughter?
  14. When does Doc Golightly's first wife die?
  15. What animal does Doc Golightly teach to say "Lulamae" for Holly?
  16. What tune does the narrator hear Doc Golightly whisteling?

External Resources

  • Grzesiak, Rich. "My Significant Other, Truman Capote". [1]. 1987.
  • Lackey, K. "Capote's Works". [2].
  • Cash, Matthew. "Breakfast at Tiffany's -The Novel". [3].
  • Garson, Helen S. Truman Capote. New York: Fredrick Unger Publishing. 1980.

Works Cited

  • Capote, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany's. New York: Random House Publishing. 1958.
  • Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1988.

Section five | Breakfast at Tiffany's | Section seven