Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote #BookReview

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Truman Capote’s classic novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a fascinating portrait of Holly Golightly, a beautiful young woman, who “belongs” to no one and no thing, but works her seductive magnetism to draw men to herself in droves as a means to survive.

Golightly is a character study of a 19-year-old young woman who uses manipulation as a means of survival. She has no real “family” to speak of and her childhood was likely a traumatic mess. While both her past and present lives are a sad reality, Capote tells the story of a woman who knows more than she leads on, and at the same time presents herself as someone on the inside of society with her glamorous looks and exotic travels.

The main themes Capote covers in the story are belonging and attachment. Golightly’s lack of family connections, losing her brother, Fred, in World War II, tied with the steady stream of interested older men, who constantly swarm around her apartment, depict the balance she has found between the attention she craves and the “freedom” she desires through serial dating, in which she never settles down nor commits to a single man.

Capote’s masterful use of an unnamed narrator, whom Golightly calls ‘Fred,’ because he reminds her of her brother, captures Holly’s allure and her own personal struggle as she goes on everyday just trying to survive. The short story portrait of Golightly has stood the test of time and still has relevance today. Holly Golightly was immortalized by Audrey Hepburn in her iconic performance in the classic 1961 film directed by Blake Edwards.

Audrey Hepburn

One comment

  1. This is also a story of treading the tightrope between “fallen woman” and “wife” at a time when options for a woman alone were extremely limited, when practically the only honorable “trade” taught to women was how to be a good wife. Some are content with hearth and home but that can also be a cage, possibly a beautifully comfortable cage, but still a cage none the less. Holly Golightly is a classic precisely because she played within the system she was taught and was able to walk that tightrope admirably. How many women at that time dreamed of running away from situations they were forced into? This character personified that dream successfully maintained… at least for a little while…


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