Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote is about the thought that friendship can make a person take drastic measures in helping a friend. The setting is New York City. The point of view is first-person limited. Seen through the eyes of the narrator, called “Fred” ( the main character ), who is a starting writer.
The story starts out, probably in the present time, when “Fred”, who had now been living in New York for a great deal of time, goes into his friend Joe Bell’s bar for a drink. There he learns his long-time friend, Holly Golightly, is still alive by the use of a photograph from an explorer which shows a wood carving made by a tribesman which bears the uncanny resemblance to Holly.
After this encounter, “Fred” begins to reminisce about his past with Holly and all of their wild adventures. “Fred’s” first meeting with Holly was through his apartment window. Holly Golightly is a nineteen-year-old self-sufficient woman. Some of her personality traits are admirable, affectionate, while cold-hearted.
She is motivated in life by striving for her purpose in life, which is to be rich and famous while keeping her ego. She believes that love is not sexual. Holly, trying to escape a horrible date, decides to visit her new downstairs neighbor.
There she practically tells “Fred” everything about her life. Fred was a name Holly chose for “Fred” because he looked like her brother Fred, but since the point of view is the first person, the narrator refers to himself throughout the story as “I”, but Holly generally refers to him as “Fred”. In “Fred’s” apartment, Holly tells “Fred” about her involvement with an imprisoned drug runner name Sally Tomato, a stock mobster character who pays Holly to visit him. “Fred” learns more about Holly’s friends when he attends a party hosted by Holly.
There he meets Rusty Trawler, Holly’s current boyfriend, Mag Wildwood, a cunning southern bell from Arkansas who would eventually steal away Holly’s boyfriend. “Fred” realizes that Holly’s friends are not the usual type of people that attend parties. This is described when Mag first enters the party and says in her southern accent, ” You b-b-boys not vexed at me for butting in on your p-p-party.” Mag says this even though everybody knows she was attending.
The tone of the story is funny and sarcastic. The action then abruptly changes when Holly, Mag, Rusty, and Mag’s boyfriend, Jose` Ybarra-Jaegar, an eccentric Brazilian politician, went on a trip to Brazil. There Mag steals Holly’s boyfriend, Rusty, and Holly does the same with Mag’s boyfriend, Jose`. When they get back, Holly is detected by her former husband. “Fred” then learns that Holly’s real name was Lulamae Barnes before she was married as a child bride to a southerner named Doc Golightly.
Also, over this period of time, Holly’s involvement with Mag’s ex-boyfriend drives Mag away. This is a very rough time for Holly. In order to ease the pain and pass the time, Holly spends more and more time with “Fred” drinking in Joe Bell’s bar. Joe Bell is a shy bar owner who conceals his feeling about the rambunctious Holly. Even though he is in love with her, Joe keeps his feelings hidden. Everything is fine till one day after horse-back riding. After “Fred” has a severe accident, involving a horse and an abrupt trip downtown, Holly is suddenly arrested for being involved in a drug triangle with Sally Tomato.
Apparently, Sally was using Holly to relay information from him to his drug empire outside the prison walls. At this same moment, “Fred” finds out that Jose is leaving Holly and he has to tell her the news. The theme is reinforced in these chapters by the way the narrator goes out of his way to do things for his friend, Holly. They go horseback riding, even though “Fred” is uneasy about riding.
They also decide to steal masks from a costume store. After all of these horrible things happen to Holly, she decides to break out of jail and move to Brazil. Even though “Fred” knows she is probably never coming back, he still has hope for Holly’s return. And he shares that hope with Joe Bell at his bar. “Fred” knows that he would have done anything to keep his and Holly’s relationship strong.
Which is the theme of the story: friendship can make a person take drastic measures in helping a friend. Holly Golightly was just a lost romantic. A surreal person living in the real world. Dealing with real people and problems in an unorthodox way. So, if you’re ever in Brazil and you happen to see Holly, tell her that “Fred” is doing fine.
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