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The Proudest Salutation
                              
                        Ptooooooooooey!!!!!!
'Breakfast at Tiffany's', Truman Capote

     
Breakfast at Tiffany's 1 by Truman Capote is a book of 3 short stories and a novella.  'Breakfast at Tiffany's' is the novella. The others are ' House of Flowers', 'A Diamond Guitar', and 'A Christmas Memory'.
      Portraiture is the book's conceit with a theme of - fiction by which Capote articulates a psychological dynamic, mostly his own. The book reads like fiction, but interpreting it seems to reveal an awful lot of Capote's personal psyche, more like a memoir.   Of course I can't prove the subtext is of Capote's traits but it is what I believe is going on.  My argument - which follows - is that the stories evidence an authorial pathology in addition to the author's - at times - epiphanous literary sensibility.
     Ottilie and Holly Golightly are two of the main characters of the book. Holly of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and Ottilie - no surname - of 'House of Flowers'.  Their stories are forms of parallelism.   Both abandon previous kinships for a peregrination, both seem imperviable at times but are latter shown to be more assailable.
     Holly's peregrination takes her from being a rural pinion of Tulip, Texas to New York and a Hollywoodesque insouciance. She is, it seems, iconic and desired by almost everybody she meets including the narrator of the story.  The trouble is Capote - apparently because of some pathology - decides to bludgeon Holly,
figuratively speaking.  Her peregrination seems at times to be nothing but a continuous punishment.  Holly's journey - created by Capote - includes; An alimentary necessity of prostitution;  Fiduciary reasons for being involved with a mobster;  An accessory to an international drug ring - Holly is sarcastic upon being arrested then slapped by the arresting policewoman causing Holly to suffering a miscarriage;  Holly eventually bail jumps from the U.S. to South America; [At this point in the book I can't blame her for fleeing the U.S.  Its like she's being chased by Jason Vorhees.]  Eventually news of her whereabouts reaches the States and she is thought to be shacking up with "mud hutted" africans.  [This is not my prejudice at work, the situation is described as such in the book.]  Now, if you as a reader can explain all that, as 'life predicaments' rather than an authorial battering of his/her characters then, I believe you are reading twentieth century literature as if it were one of Aesop's fables.  While having sincere feelings for what Holly represents, still the suffering or romacabre (portmanteau of romanticism/macabre)  which exists is under the control of Capote the author.  That characters profess love and concern doesn't negate the macabre.  Supposedly, the narrator's love is advanced by the hobbled nature of Holly's peregrination.  How is it that a succession of abusive sustenations becomes the foundation of a nonpathological love? Well, maybe if the sustenations were shared which they aren't.   I interpret the peregrination as a string of events constituting some kind of authorial pathology.  
     The  suffering or romacabre contained in the stories is under the control of Capote.  I don't believe he can 
escape the volition of debasing the characters by claiming that societal indifference is at work.  The idea that such a maring of Holly Golightly by a disembodied society just doesn't hold under the evidence. 
     'House of Flowers' parallels 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'.  In 'House of Flowers' Capote skirts but doesn't totally evade being the bludgeoner himself as Ottilie's heretofore loving but somewhat neglectful husband, suddenly and randomly,  seems on the verge of becoming the bludgeoner.   Nothing previously written depicted the husband as a threat to Ottilie;  There was  just a lot of love and some neglect.  Yet Ottilie ends the story tied to a tree, apparently ignorant to the husbands ominousness.  Unfortunately, the husband hasn't shown any abusiveness, only a spiritually motivated scolding.  Yet doom seems headed for the tree-tied Ottilie .  Really the only doom awaiting Ottilie is Capote's free hand to create such doom, battering Ottilie as he battered Holly Golightly. 
      It becomes apparent that a facile peregrination of yearning and hope, as in Holly's case, and the facile, earthy desire for love without an obstacle of analyticism, as in Ottilie's case, are enough for Capote to charge both Holly and Ottilie with the crime of facileness and of not having a proper reverence for frills and trinkets.   It seems fair to say Holly and Ottilie are anathemas to a baubled, materialistic existence which Capote admires.  The following is said of a character but I think it applies to Capote himself and helps explain what seems like Capote's contempt for a facile, unornamented life.

"Yearning. Not stupid.  He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out."2

      Well, Capote seems 'in' with a nonfacile, ornamented group, his nose 'pressed against the glass' looking out, contemptuously, at those not on the inside.   
       The stories 'A Diamond Guitar' and 'A Christmas Memory' can, both,  be similarly interpreted.  'A Christmas Memory' has the added benefit of Capote disclosing some basis for the pathological backhands of the adult Capote.
 
The story is the beginning- in time - of these stories.  It is a representation of a sensitive child character experiencing conflict in the form of some ridicule and the loss of his dearest friend whom he loves.  The loss;
". . . servering from me an irreplacable part of mysef, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string.  That is why . . . "3   
     Capote has a well-developed literate empathy and fluidity of expression. Holly is for the first part of the story unbearably vain. She seems senseless, as if society - or street life at least - couldn't be baneful or nocuous towards her.  She is unassailable in her insouciance.  It is as if she could walk off her apt. balcony, land safely 2 or 3 stories below, not  even needing to straighten her wide-brimmed straw hat or dark rimmed sunglasses.  She is insufferable, unbearable. She seems imperviable. Fortunately, Capote reveals some very concise pathos under the celebrity facade.  Holly misses an audition for a possible career changing hollywood movie part.  Her agent wants to know why.  Despite the plasticity she presents - the going about life teeming with an obeisance to frivolity - she answers her agent truthfully, as if finally fatigued by it all;

  "I don't want it."4

     I am not the most proficient with pop psychology.  If asked to add 'Oedipus' and 'Rex' together, I might very easily come up with something like 'Oedipus Mex' or 'Epochal Rant' or even 'Ma'am,  If I'm the one smoking the cigar then, I assure you, the cigar is just a cigar.'  So,  I'm quite certain this book review with its pop psychology is off-track by a few hundred thousand miles. But my argument is not entirely unsupported.  Contradictions can easily underlie what seem a union; facades sit atop truths, truths sit atop mistakes,  falsities sit alongside truths, etc.;  All presented as some kind of singular entity. An aesthetic is revealed in the book, yet
I can't ignore the comparable esoteric loathings and antipathies which also exist.  Thus, to me, an argument that the book contains both literature and pathology doesn't seem necessarily wrong. 



1Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote ©1958, The Penguin Group, Penguin Essentials, London and New York
2 Ibid, pg. 43
3 Ibid, pg. 158
4 Ibid, pg. 29
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