Breakfast at Tiffany's Section 2

From LitWiki


As promised, Holly stops ringing Mr. Yunioshi's doorbell and begins to ring the protagonist's. He still has yet to actually make an acquaintance with Holly until a cool autumn night in September. He finds her outside of his window hiding from a man, whom she claims to be a "biter." The protagonist and Holly carry on a conversation, and he reads her some of his writing, which she criticizes. She then tells him of her visits to see Sally Tomato at Sing Sing. When Holly notices that it is four-thirty in the morning, she asks if she can sleep in the protagonist's bed with him. He pretends to be asleep, and Holly begins to speak, but not to the protagonist. "Poor Fred, Where are you, Fred? Because it's cold. There's snow in the wind" (27). The protagonist can feel her tears, but when he asks her why she is crying, she is startled and says, "I hate snoops."(27) and climbs back out onto the fire escape.

The next morning, the protagonist discovers a Charles & Co. basket with Holly's card outside his door. She asks for his forgiveness for the previous night and states that she would not bother him again. He leaves a bunch of violets and the reply "Please do" at her door. He does not hear from her until he reminds her of her weekly visit to Sing Sing and, as a sign of her gratitude, she invites him over for a drink. When he goes to her apartment, he is greeted by O.J. Berman, a Hollywood actor's agent who supposedly "discovered" Holly. The protagonist also gets his first look at Rutherfurd "Rusty" Trawler and Mag Wildwood, a very tall young woman with a stuttering problem. Mag seems to demand all the attention in the room, until Holly makes rude comments about her while she is in the bathroom. "It's really very sad. And so mysterious. You'd think it would show more. But heaven knows, she looks healthy. So, well, clean." This makes the other guests lose interest in Mag immediately, which Holly had been counting on. When Mag returns, she is so shocked at the sudden lack of attention that she begins to take it out on everyone else before "sliding to the floor, where she sat humming" (46). As the guests of the party begin to leave, Holly asks the narrator to escort Mag to a taxi, but before he can try Mag passes out landing face first on the floor. Instead, he gives her a pillow and leaves her there to sleep it off.


  • "21" (15) - A highly popular restaurant located in Midtown Manhattan.
  • "Waltzing Matilda" (15) - Written in 1895 by poet and nationalist Banjo Paterson, "Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's most widely known song and has been popularly suggested as a potential national anthem many times.
  • Picayunes (16) - A brand of cigarettes produced until the 1960's and known as "The Pride of New Orleans."
  • Melba toast (16) - A type of toast that is very dry, crisp, and thinly-sliced. It is often served with soups and salads or topped with melted cheese.
  • Cole Porter (16) - An American composer and songwriter noted for his sophisticated lyrics, clever rhymes, and complex form.
  • Kurt Weill (16) - From Germany, Weill was a leading composer for the stage and a composer of concert works from the 1920s until his death in 1950.
  • Oklahoma! (16) - The first musical play written by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Oklahoma! tells the story of cowboy Curly McLane and his romance with farmer girl Laurey Williams.
  • "The newest Simenon" (17) - Holly is referring to the latest novel by Georges Simenon, a Belgian author who wrote in French.
  • "TrĂ©s fou" (18) - Translated from French to English, "very insane."
  • Saroyan (19) - William Saroyan, an Armenian-American author who wrote many plays and short stories about his impoverished life as the son of Armenian immigrants.
  • Hemingway (19) - Ernest Hemingway, an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist.
  • W. Someset Maugham (19) - Maugham was a British playwright, novelist, and short story writer and the highest payed author of the 1930s.
  • Yiddish (25) - Yiddish ia a Germanic language spoken by about three million people around the world, mostly by Ashkenazi Jews.
  • "Mille tendresse" (28) - Translated from French to English, "thousand tenderness."
  • Teletype (30) - Also known as teleprinter, teletypewriter, or TTY, a teletype is an electro-mechanical typewriter used to communicate messages from point to point through a simple electrical communications channel.
  • Seconals (31) - Seconal is a brand of secobarbital, a drug derived from barbiturates, used to treat epilepsy and insomnia and as an anesthetic. By saying this, Berman is implying that Holly will eventually commit suicide.
  • Luise Rainer (31) - Rainer was a Jewish film actress from Europe who escaped to the U.S. during the Holocaust.
  • Dry Tortugas (37) - A small group of islands located at the end of the Florida Keys.
  • Tiffany's (39) - Considered the world's finest jewelry company, Tiffany's was founded in New York City in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young. It now has locations in major cities all over the world.
  • Maria Ouspenskaya (39) - A Russian actress who achieved fame as a young woman in Russia and as an elderly woman in Hollywood.


Throughout this section we begin to get a better glimpse into the life of Miss Holly Golightly. We find that she is someone who likes to have a good time. Being the free spirit that she is, the good times she has are with different men every night. The night that she and the narrator have their first meeting, Holly is hiding from a guy who is drunk and starts biting Holly in bed. The narrator wants to make the best impression on her, which is most likely why he becomes irritated with her criticism of his stories and his apartment. He is also overtaken by Holly's always putting in random thoughts. These random thoughts suggest that she doesn't really want to be there with the narrator. It is the only solution to the problem of being cold and standing on a fire escape, half dressed.

Holly Golightly was Truman Capote's favorite character because "her whole life is an expression of freedom and an acceptance of human irregularities" (Clarke 313). This is obvious as she is not tied down with a career nor with a family. Her lifestyle is portrayed even through her name: Holiday "Holly" Golightly, meaning she "makes a holiday of life, through which she walks lightly" (Clarke (313). She is also very accepting and open-minded towards homosexuality, which she shows throughout the novella, whether it be through her words ("A person ought to be able to marry a man or a woman...") (83) or her actions (for example, her friendship with the narrator).

Holly's character is like that of Capote's mother, Lillie Mae "Nina" Capote and like that of Capote himself. Both Holly and Nina grew up in the South while longing to live in New York and both changed their names to ones that they felt were more sophisticated. However, Holly seems to most resemble Capote in spirit. She shares his philosophy of freedom and acceptance, as well as his fears and anxieties, which Holly calls "the mean reds" (Clarke 313).

Study Questions

  1. Why does Miss Golightly start ringing the narrator's bell?
  2. When and why does Miss Golighly show up on the narrator's fire escape?
  3. At what age does Miss Golightly leave home?
  4. Who is Fred? Why does Miss Golightly ask if she may call the narrator by this name?
  5. Why does Miss Golightly believe Thursdays are "gruesome"?
  6. Who is Sally Tomato?
  7. Who is Mr. O'Shaughnessy?
  8. Who is O.J Berman? Why does he feel Holly is a phony?
  9. Who is Rusty Trawler? How many times has he been married?
  10. What is your first impression of Mag Wildwood?
  11. Why do you believe Holly makes negative comments about her at the party?
  12. During the party what book does our narrator pretend to look though?
  13. How does the narrator leave Mag Wildwood at the end of the party?

Works Cited

  • Capote, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories: New York, Vintage Books,1950
  • Smith, Liz. "My Friend Truman Capote". Harper's Bazaar March 2006: 426-428.
  • Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Section one | Breakfast at Tiffany's | Section three