“But you can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.” -Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Truman Capote’s classic short story made famous by Audrey Hepburn is a character study on Holly Golightly, a free-spirited woman, who is terrified of commitment and seeks constant attention from older men, who shower her with doting gifts, hoping to “capture” her heart.
I found his character study to be both fascinating and frustrating. Holly is an irresistible tease and she knows it. She uses her allure to make those around her fall over themselves for a kind word and assurances of her love. However, I believe the quote rings true in a way.
From an outsider’s perspective, Holly is like a wild bird, who wants to be seen and fawned over, but never caught. She soars above those in pursuit of her, but never engages in real love. She is terrified of it. She settles for surface fun. She can never stay with one man at the same time. She never wants to stay in one place. She is always off somewhere. She goes out every night. She often travels with friends. It is a trap for the one pursuing her because they can’t see that no matter the sacrifice, no matter the gift, no matter the attention paid to her, she will not reciprocate their pursuit of her.
I see this book as a warning in relationships. it shows the need to love and let go when the situation dictates. It shows an unhealthy side of relationships that one could find themselves in when love becomes one-sided.
Capote ends this section though as a cautionary tale for the one who cannot commit:
“Good luck: and believe me, dearest Doc – it’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.” -Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Holly sees the emptiness, the lack of intimacy, the loneliness that comes from this way of life. She can’t herself though. It is a really hard place to be. I kind of feel sorry for her. I understand where she is coming from.