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madbkwm

madbkwm

Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories - Truman Capote Not only had I never read this, I have not seen the film. I am familiar with "Holly Golightly" as a concept, but this was my first introduction. The volume that I read also included three other short stories, I have reviewed each below.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
Clearly, this is a classic. Not only do I want to be Holly Golightly (despite her clearly troubled past and unsettled future), but I am not even all that startled by my wish. Capote manages to make many astute comments about human nature while simultaneously telling an interesting story. He was also very bold (and slightly scandalous) for the time. Some of my favorite quotes are below:

"You can love somebody without it being like that. You keep them a stranger, a stranger who's a friend."

"Like many people with a bold fondness for volunteering intimate information, anything that suggested a direct question, a pinning-down, put her on guard."

"Of course people couldn't help but think I must be a bit of a dyke myself. And of course I am. Everyone is;a bit. So what? That never discouraged a man yet, in fact it seems to goad them on."

"A person ought to be able to marry men or women or--listen, if you came to me and said you wanted to hitch up with Man O' War, I'd respect your feeling. No, I'm serious. Love should be allowed."

"Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest--I'd rob a grave, I'd steal two-bits off a dead man's eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day's enjoyment--but unto-thyself-type hones. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart."

House of Flowers
This is a story that is similar to Breakfast at Tiffany's in that a country girl comes to the city and uses her wiles to make a place for herself. Ottilie does not have quite the flair that Holly has and eventually Ottilie decides she wants to return home (whereas Holly would never). Again, it is an interesting (and fairly accurate) comment on the power dynamic between men and women (especially given that the commentator is a gay man), but less compelling that Breakfast. I liked his comment on the show/display of grief: "Old women beat their heads against the walls, moaning men prostrated themselves: it was the art of sorrow, and those who best mimicked grief were much admired."

A Diamond Guitar
This was my least favorite story. I was not really all that entertained or impressed, but I liked his description of the relationship between Tico Feo and Mr. Schaeffer: "Except that they did not combine their bodies or think to do so, though such things were not unknown at the farm, they were as lovers."

A Christmas Memory
This story also featured the relationship between an older person and a younger person (although the age discrepancy is larger than in Diamond Guitar). It was a cute story and held many of the elements of the others (poverty, folks who live in the country, odd fitting relationships). I thought it was better than Guitar, but not as good as Flowers.

Overall I am glad to have finally read Breakfast at Tiffany's (and I will pick up the movie at the library as well). I could have done without the other three stories, I did not find them all that entertaining, insightful, or compelling.

***So, I just finished watching the movie and I was disappointed. Not with Hepburn, I really loved her Holly Golightly. I was disappointed in the choices that the writer/director/producer (whoever made the decision on this) made in the adaptation. It may be simply because I started Greer's Female Eunuch this morning, but the choice to make Paul a "kept man" instead of the gay neighbor seemed to fall in well with her arguments about the stereotype of the feminine. The time at which Greer writes is similar to the time in which this movie was made and so the interpretation of a gay man as equivalent to a man taking on the feminine role of sexual object has me mulling. I also did not like the change in Holly's arrest or the complete deviation from the text with her party. And of course, the love interest between Paul and Holly is just pure Hollywood. Overall, I found myself spending more time thinking about the cultural lens and choices that were made in the adaptation than thinking about the characters. Although that could also just be due to the fact that old movies tend to move slowly.