Breakfast at Tiffany's Section 3

From LitWiki


The weekend after Holly's party the narrator discovers that Mag Wildwood is still at Holly's apartment. In this same weekend, a strange Latin visitor mistakenly knocks on his door for Mag, and later that day sees him unloading luggage from a taxi. That night, the narrator listens in on the girl talk between, Holly and Mag as they sit on the window ledge of their apartment wondow. Holly tells about her brother Fred being a soldier and that he is stupid. Mag is a proud American who is engaged to a Brazilian named Jose. Jose is a politician who wants to become the president of Brazil. Mag wants him to give up politics and live in America.

When the narrator goes down to check his mail, he notices that the card on Holly's box is changed to say that Miss Golightly and Miss Wildwood are now traveling together. In his box is a letter from a university review who wants to publish his story. He shows the letter to Holly, who decides to take him out to lunch and celebrate. As she gets ready, the narrator notices the packed suitcases and says that her room reminds him of a girl's gym. The whole time, Holly is talking about Mag and her engagement. She finally congratulates him on the story.


  • Totter (47)- To move unsteadily with a rocking motion.
  • “Bully for him” (48)- An idiom used when something is said that a person does not think the other person deserves praise or admiration for.
  • Indian summer day (48)-a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, not long before winter that persist for a few days or weeks.
  • Brazil (49)- Brazil is a formal colony of Portugal, located in South America and is now the 5th largest country in the world.
  • censoriously (49)- Tending to censure, harshly critical.
  • conventional (50)- Ordinary; not unusual or extreme.
  • argyles (51)- Knitted or woven socks in diamond shaped patterns of various colors.
  • Complacently (51)- In a self-satisfied manner.
  • Sun helmets (51)-a light-weight hat that is worn in tropical countries that protects one from the sun.
  • Misconstrued (52)- To misinterpret or mistake the meaning of something.


One could suggest that Capote had his own life experiences in mind when writing Breakfast at Tiffany’s and that he is the narrator. He modeled the character of Holly Golightly after six women that he was intrigued with, Phoebe Pierce, Gloria Vanderbilt, Carol Marcus, Doris Lilly, Anky Larrabee, and Oona O’Neill (Clarke 64).

In 1964 Capote had written a letter to Alvin Dewey III admitting that Holly was indeed a real girl, but the incidences he writes about her are mostly fictional (Clarke 401). In his later years Capote admits “It’s too bad I don’t like going to bed with women” and further states that he loves attractive and beautiful women only as friends, not lovers (Clarke 93-94). This would explain how he molded the character of Holly and the non-sexual relationship between her and the narrator. However, many scholars miss the existence of homosexuality in the novella, therefore missing some of the key parts that explains the sexual dynamics (Pugh 51).

The narrator is characterized as having his nose pressed against the glass and wanting to be on the inside staring out (Capote 48). In a conversation with Lawrence Grobel, Capote admits “yes, looking in, seeing something that he wanted to be inside of” (Grobel 88). This is indicative of Capote/the narrator being fascinated with the life style of Holly Golightly.

In Cash's critical analysis he states that Mag is a character who is introduced as having many similar characteristics to Holly. She is tall and attractive, but has a stutter problem. She is engaged to Jose, a Brazilian, and when she talks about her future relationship with him she makes the comment to Holly, "Better you than me (Capote 51)." Holly responds back, "Yes. Better me than you (Capote 51)." This indicates that Holly is attracted to Jose, maybe even more than Mag.

Study Questions

  1. How is Mag on the verge of pneumonia?
  2. How does Holly describe her brother Fred?
  3. Why is the narrator charmed by the Latin (Jose)?
  4. Where is Jose from?
  5. What language is spoken in Brazil?
  6. What does Holly have to say about the letter the narrator receives from the university review regarding his story?
  7. Why does Holly suggest to the narrator that he not let a small university publish his work?
  8. Why does Mag think of Jose's desire to be President of Brazil?
  9. How is Holly's room described?
  10. Why does Holly keep everything packed and ready to go as if she is running from authorities?
  11. Why does Holly accept Mag as a roommate?

External Resources

Works Cited

  • Capote,Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany's. New York: Random House Inc., 1958.
  • Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.
  • Grobel, Lawrence. Conversations With Capote. New York: New American Library, 1985.
  • Pugh, Tison. "Capote's BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S." Explicator. Vol.61 no.1 (2002):51.

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