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Nonsense, Fiction, and Miscellaneous Things

The Proudest Salutation
'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
'The New York Trilogy', Paul Auster
     The New York Trilogy1 by Paul Auster is a grouping of 3 mystery novellas; "City of Glass", "Ghosts", and "The Locked Room" into a single book.  Two of the novellas have a version of a literary minded narrator working a case on a 'for hire' basis, the third has a literary minded narrator helping a childhood friend's apparent widow.  
     The narrators also ruminate about Thoreau, Don Quixote, Milton's Paradise Lost, a fictional academic work, and more.  
The ruminative literary monologues - in their percipience and good conscience - have a spellbinding effect.  They made for interesting reading.
   Although the novellas are something of an homage - pastiche might be more correct - to the detective, mystery novel, it is wordplay - which I'll also refer to as lexical paradoxes - which is an important characteristic of the book.   
"White wants Blue to follow a man named Black and to keep an eye on him for as long as necessary.  While working for Brown . . . "2
"Fate in the sense of what was, of what happened to be.  It was something like the word 'it' in the phrase 'it is raining' or 'it is night'.  What the it referred to Quinn had never known.   [Boldface mine] 
Toward the bottom of the same page;
"And so he had received the call - which anyway had been destined for the wrong man.  It all made perfect sense."3  [Again, boldface mine] 
      One moment the 'it' is indeterminable, the next 'it' makes perfect sense.  The contexts are such that the 2 'its' refer to different things, but don't be fooled;  I feel fairly certain that the author is aware of and motivated by the seemingly paradoxical claims regarding 'it'.
     The lexical paradoxes had such an effect on me that when I read;

"Blue reaches for his hat, his coat, his muffler,  and boots . . . "4

     My first thought upon reading  'muffler' was that Blue had grabbed along with his hat, coat, etc. a 10 or 12 ft. long piece of bent metal tubing which sits under a car and channels exhaust gases.  Generally that would not have been my first thought.
     Two aspects of the book were problematic for me.
     Occasionally, the logic of the narrative seemed poorly founded. That is to say, the events weren't in keeping with the preceding narrative but were simply possible.   An 'anything is possible' school of suspense seemed to take over.   Yes, anything can happen but not every 'anything' is plausible and an 'Anything can happen' suspense leads to a verisimilitude of plausibility.  An obligation of plausibility in fiction was, occasionally, jettisoned for the easy suspense of possibility.  These occasional events seemed to suggest a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were at work as authors.   Things would seem to proceed rationally as I read - the Dr. Jekyll author -  and then, all of a sudden, something unfounded and rather unbelievable popped up - the Mr. Hyde author.    
     The book's conceit seems to be subjectiveness lacks certainty.
This conceit is made somewhat illogical as each novella ends with the protagonist portrayed, melodramatically, as
trying to retain, heroically, some semblance of understanding despite the seeming indifference of detective noir . . . er, I mean . . . of life or fate.
     My attempts to find a theme among the many motifs i.e. lexical paradoxes, literary sublimity,  plot mystery, etc. left me bedeviled and in a state of uncertainty.   The trilogy seems best suited for someone with an affinity for the puzzling aspects of life.
     Let me end with a digression;
     Post-modernism - which this book can claim as a literary style -  can seem to be eschewing classical, romantic, and modern literary styles.  The    'experiments', 'alternatives',  can seem to be attempting to supplant the classical, romantic, modern styles. It could be a useless struggle in which post-modernism is engaging badly, like a spoiled child.  Post-modernism seems to be insisting upon its version of poetic justice; It insists on being lauded beyond the classical, romantic, or modern styles.  You know,
those classical, romantic, modernists are dastardly fellows. 

1 The New York Trilogy; City of Glass, Ghosts, Locked Room, Paul Auster, ©1985, 1986, Penguin Goup, ©1987,1988, New York, New York,U.S.A.
2 Ibid, pg. 133
3 Ibid, pg.109
4 Ibid, pg. 138

1940's Hooey

     Colonel, I have some wery waluable information concerning our nemesis 'The Church of Everlasting Grace'.

     Excellent operative 3D234.

     May I remind sir, until this operation is over I am to be known as Doreen.

     Of course, of course.   Please proceed Doreen.

     Is the Colonel up to date on our arch obstacle?

     Yes, of course.

     Excellent, we wouldn't want any insufficiencies or demerits concerning our efforts. 

     Of course not, but it is you who need to be aware of insufficiencies.  Afterall, I'm not the one with the 'wery waluable' information now am I.

     Yes sir.  Shall I scramble my communications?

     Yes, good idea.  Should the higher-ups find out we're idiots we'll be pole-axed for sure.

     Grrrrckk grrrk  ggggrk  grkkkk.  Ggggrrk ggggggk gkkkkkk grk.  Gkkkkk, gkkkk gk.

     I see.

     Grrrrrk grrrrrrk grk grrrrrrrrrck.


     Grrrk grrrrrrkk grk grrrrrrrrr.  Grrrrrrrrk gkkkkkkk gck gcgkkk.

     They are apparently smarter than we anticipated.  Can we produce a propaganda film in which . . . oh, say a mandrill or other chimp - Nazi-inspired and outfitted - saves his fellow chimps, lions, tigers, etc;  In short he saves the world because he's a strong and heroic Nazi mandrill?

     Of course Colonel, excellent idea.   I have yet to understand why you have not been promoted to Major.

'Writing Errancy: Outcasts, Capitalism, and Mobility', Alberto Lopez Cuenca
     This is a reposting of a previous post which had been deleted.  Also, the article's sections which are indented to center and extend to the right margin are quotes of other works;  They are supporting quotes.  Those sections are not noted by standard and the article can be confusing to read as a result.      
" . . . errancy keeps meaning."1

     This is the ending of the article Writing Errancy: Outcasts, Capitalism, and Mobility by Alberto Lopez Cuenca, online at http://www.culturemachine.net.  http://www.culturemachine.net/index.php/cm/article/view/551/571 Although the word 'Writing' seems out of place and the article is best described as conjecture, still it hooked me.
     It seems the article's desideratum is of an understanding.  That understanding being, mankind is transferring from a natural state of existence to a societal state of existence but slowly,very slowly.  The theme is touched on only tangentially by Mr. Cuenca. The tangents are summarized by catchwords or slogans, such as mobility, creativity, globalization, criminality, etc.  These refer indirectly to either the decline of a natural state of affairs or the supplanting done by a societal state of affairs.  Although this evolution may seem obvious - hasn't mankind's history been one of moving from a natural state toward a societal state(?) - there are contradictions to its linearity.  Certainly, Theism provided the best foundation of such a transfer but has, incongruously, been besmirched throughout modern history. The result has been the backsliding of various eras towards the natural state of affairs as evidenced most recently by the world wars of our own era.  Yet, the articles tangents suggest an inexorable necessity to abnegate - to some extent - from our natural state existences.  It also suggests that the natural state is implied in societal corruptions and unethicalities despite the 'societal' context.
     The 'semi-academic' article's tone is exigent, its reasoning insufficient, but not insufficient due to malfeasance.  Instead the insufficiency reveals that understanding is arrived at piecemeal.  We only learn a piece at a time rather than learning as a lump sum;  A lump sum falling into somebody's lap isn't generally the route to understanding.  This speaks of experiential learning. 
    The article also struck me as a modern-day antiphon.  Today's secular, scientific, reasoned civilization - seemingly without a deity - still has its verses and hymns, its oblations to a devotion.  However, the devotion is to a secular structure;  Scientific reasoning, evidence, empiricality, thoughtfulness, etc. have replaced prayer,
singing and other worshipful adorations as humanity's -  uncertain as we are - devotional oblations.
     Anyway, the article interested me.
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