ENGLISH LITERATURE Breakfast at Tiffany’s Lyceum Foundation 2017-2018 Individual Essay #1Coursework title: English LiteratureCoursework deadline: December 21 2017Course Coordinator: Dora KaragianniStudent Name: Mariniki SolanakiWord Count: 2.830Institution: NETWORK FoundationTABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction 2Biographical Notes 2Summary 3Characters 6Holly Golightly 6The Narrator or Fred 7Rusty Trawler 8José Ybarra-Jaegar 8Mag Wildwood 8Analysis 9Setting 9Climax 9Conflict 10Resolution 10Themes 10Isolation 10Friendship 11Plans-Dreams-Hopes 11Memory and the past 11Freedom and Confinement 12Home 12Love and Money 12Symbols 13Holly’s Cat 13Birdcage 13Tiffany’s 13Holly’s Sunglasses/Masks 14Conclusion 14References List 16INTRODUCTIONOne of the most crucial reasons that led me towards the decision to choose this book is the fact that it belongs to the classic collection of books: It had always been my favourite book category, therefore I choose to read as many of it as possible. Another determining factor that swayed my decision to choose Breakfast at Tiffany’s is the rave reviews it had which had me intrigued and sparked my interest. Of course, when I myself read the summary I was truly fond of it since it concerned the life of a free-spirited, romantic girl and this was the most deciding factor of all.BIOGRAPHICAL NOTESTruman Streckfus Persons, also known as Truman Capote was a widely renowned, American author for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood”. He had also written various novels, plays, and short stories. New Orleans in Louisiana is his birthplace and his birthdate is in 1924. Truman Capote started writing stories at the age of eight. By the age of ten he was honoured with the “Mobile Press Register short story award”. What is more, after him moving to Greenwich and Connecticut and completing high school in 1943; he decided to cease college since according to him, it was unprofitable and time-consuming. During that time, he was employed at the New Yorker a job that he managed to maintain for two years after which he was dismissed for enraging poet Robert Frost. By 1940, Capote’s short stories had been acknowledged and started getting published. Some other exceptionally recognized books of his include “A Tree of Night and Other Stories” and “The Grass Harp”. He did live in various places including Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies. Finally, Truman Capote’s death took place in Los Angeles, in 1984 due to cancer (Capote, 2012).SUMMARYBreakfast at Tiffany’s presents the story of a strong friendship between an unnamed writer and his neighbor, Holly Golightly. The writer, who is also the narrator of the story, meets with another friend of his, Joe Bell twelve years after they had last seen each other. After seeing a photograph of a primitive carving which Joe Bell possessed and bore a resemblance to Holly, a flood of memories are brought back to him. He then remembers that it was only ten years ago that the two of them used to live in the same upper East-side brownstone in New York. Holly is firstly seen by him late at a hot night- not long after him moving in the apartment- because of her carelessness and loss of her keys, she rings another inhabitant’s, Mr. I.Y. Yunioshi’s bell in order to get in, prompting public disturbance. When Holly starts disturbing the narrator by ringing his bell as well, he is captivated (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008) (Kimball, 2006). He takes pleasure in seeing her playing her guitar and when in one night of September, she calls on his flat with the excuse of one man harassing her, they open up to each other. More specifically, Holly confesses to him that she visits Sally Tomato, a notorious gangster each week imprisoned in “Sing Sing” prison while she is paid by his lawyer, O’Shaughnessey 100 dollars for each visit only to transmit some secret messages known as “the weather report” between them. Apart from this way of earning money Holly also receives money from men whom she sleeps with. (Kimball, 2006) (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). Due to the fact that the narrator bears a likeness to Holly’s brother Fred she calls him by that name and that night, she bursts into tears because of certain reminiscences. When the narrator questions her she leaves his apartment unwilling to discuss her personal matters. As the narrator and Holly become closer friends, he discovers many aspects of her personality including the fact that Holly plays hostess to several men at booming parties in her flat. After being asked to attend one of those he encounters people of her social circle: Rusty Trawler, a particularly wealthy man or so believed to be who adores Holly and behaves like a child, O.J Berman, an agent from Hollywood, who had made an effort to make Holly an actress, Mag Wildwood, a model whom is despised by Holly and finds it difficult to even grip her drink right and her rich fiancé, José Ybarra-Jaegar, a diplomat from Brazil (Kimball, 2006) (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). Moreover, during a trip to Florida that Holly, Rusty, Mag and José took and after certain unfortunate incidents, Rusty and Mag both end up in a hospital whilst José and Holly due to being drawn to each other begin a relationship which results in Holly’s pregnancy. Meanwhile, Holly’s husband from Texas whom she married at the age of fourteen appears looking for her. Once he approaches her trying to persuade her to come back with him, she declines; hence he leaves. Holly bursts with anger upon finding out about her brother’s death in the war and her outbreak manifests itself with breaking everything in her apartment. Furthermore, Mag’s and Rusty’s marriage arises from the discovery of Holly’s and José’s betrayal whereas the long-awaited, anticipated proposal is made to Holly by Hosé and now dreams for moving in Brazil together are made. When Fred learns the news he is devastated and extremely hurt as he is in love with her. Before Holly’s departure, they arrange to go riding by horse together in Central Park in order to say good-bye to each other and for Holly to say goodbye to her most preferred horse. After Fred’s horse loses control and withdraws the ride turns into a disaster (Kimball, 2006) (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).Later this day, while Holly is looking after him she gets arrested by the police for participating in a drug ring leaded by Sally Tomato. Evidently, the codes of weather reports transferred encrypted messages about drug shipping although Holly had absolutely no awareness of it. Due to the extension of the scandal and with Holly’s name spread in each newspaper, José concludes that he cannot jeopardize his career by having any association with her no matter how much he loves her; thus writing to her a goodbye letter and returning to his country. (Kimball, 2006) (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008) In addition to this, Holly loses the baby and since according to her, there is nothing left to keep her in New York, she announces to Fred that she will abandon everything and go to Brazil on her own: despite the fact that she is still inspected by the authorities, she takes the risk as she has a free ticket in her possession. Fred collects her personal belongings and at last she reaches the airport asking him to send her a list of the fifty richest men in Brazil, and leaves. When the narrator finally receives a letter from Holly informing him that she is in love with a rich man in Buenos Aires, making a promise to him that she will write again to him, he awaits for her answer though he never receives one. (Kimball, 2006) (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008)CHARACTERSHOLLY GOLIGHTLYHolly Golightly who is by all odds the most prominent character of the novel is a thin, delicate, romantic, joyful person that remains a mystery: On the one hand, her innocence and absent-mindedness along with the fact that she is unemployed suggest that she is a carefree, light-hearted and easy-going character who enjoys the little things in life and does not depend her happiness on other people. On the contrary, both the fact that her goal in life is to marry a wealthy man and the fact that she receives money from men whom she sleeps with propose that she puts money above other things; hence she can be described as a materialist. The title itself proves that and Holly by choosing Tiffany’s as her ideal location verifies it. Despite the fact that she is paid by those men, she does not consider herself a prostitute. Additionally, she is a profoundly independent and self-reliant personality and this is demonstrated in numerous ways: the cage and the cat for example. At last, her wise choice of words and her cleverness in general, are evident throughout the story: She always finds something notable to add on each topic. (Novelguide, n.d)THE NARRATOR OR FREDThe narrator is an unknown writer who becomes Holly’s neighbour and soon her friend. He is enchanted by Holly and starts having feelings for her; though his feelings are never returned. When his first book is published due to Holly’s persistence he is exceedingly gratified. Long after Holly’s departure he visited a wide range of places some of which happened to be the same as the author’s. Therefore, one can assume that he portrays himself in this character.RUSTY TRAWLERRusty Trawler is a wealthy playboy who succeeded to his parent’s money at a very early age due to their death. He had always been the centre of attention in magazines since he has had four marriages and behaves- wishes to be treated like a spoiled child. He is described as a middle-aged, overweight man. (Novelguide, n.d)JOSÉ YBARRA-JAEGARJosé Ybarra-Jaegar is as I already mentioned before, a diplomat from Brazil; an attractive and ostensibly cultivated man who abandons Mag for Holly with the intention of marrying her. Nevertheless, because he fears the disgrace of his name after Holly’s arrest he abandons her as well and writes to her an honest letter explaining how coward and fraudulent he is.MAG WILDWOODMag Wildwood is a young, dazzling model whose look is outstandingly stunning and her height very tall. She is also intensely disliked by Holly and finds difficulty in holding her glass properly. She has confidence with men who are very fond of her though she marks herself as a customary personality. (Novelguide, n.d)ANALYSISSETTINGBreakfast at Tiffany’s is set in New York in 1940 during World War II. However, no special references are made to the war aside from the fact that Holly’s brother, Fred serves the military and Holly collapses upon the discovery of his death. Generally, none of the characters expresses concern for the happenings of the war but rather remains untouched. Nonetheless, certain small details such as the absence of telephones in apartments imply the consequences of the war (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).CLIMAXThere are several climactic episodes throughout the book but the most intense is believed to be the one where Holly begins a relationship with Hosé and her pregnancy which stems from it as well as their preparation to relocate to Brazil. The breakdown in communication and relationship between the Narrator and Holly and New York-Holly’s favourite city- and Holly is represented. With Holly leaving the Narrator realises what an impact her absence will have on his life. Everything is changing and this is the reason that this is the most climactic episode in the story (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).CONFLICTA noteworthy conflict between the Narrator and Holly is a fight they have during the first months of their acquaintance when they both understand that they are utterly unlike in nature. They judge each other’s choices with Holly misunderstanding his writing work and him insulting her intelligence and eventually being thrown out of her flat. Even though Fred states this is the end of their friendship they are soon reconciled (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). RESOLUTIONAs a consequence of the climax Holly is abandoned by Hosé and loses the baby. Henceforth, she is determined to leave everything behind and forget her past taking advantage of her free airplane ticket and flying to Brazil (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).THEMESISOLATIONBreakfast at Tiffany’s exhibits the idea of isolation in diverse ways; the dilemma between fear of it and wish to enjoy it. All characters and especially Holly seem to apprehend that at the end of the day everyone wishes to belong somewhere: Holly is determined a place where she will feel home. Apart from Holly, the Narrator can be described as a secluded person as well since he has no friends aside from her (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).FRIENDSHIPUndoubtedly, friendship is a vital and demanding matter: However, the ways in which it is reflected in the novel are more cosmetic and shallow except for the Narrator’s and Holly’s friendship and even theirs is ambiguous at the end (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).PLANS-DREAMS-HOPESThis theme is greatly demonstrated in the novel as well since both the Narrator who desires to be a successful writer and Holly who intends to marry a wealthy man have certain goals and intentions in their lives (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).MEMORY AND THE PASTAnother worth referring to theme is the one that involves memory and the past since the whole novel is based on it. The Narrator recounts his memories in the brownstone with Holly for it is through them that we learn the story. Likewise, Holly’s past with her husband and her brother has a significant impact on the story; the whole novel is contingent on those flashbacks (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). FREEDOM AND CONFINEMENTThe fear of restriction and limitation is present in all characters and the need to be free is clearly obvious as well. It is first and foremost Holly’s state of mind as she despises restrictions and possessions, yet she seeks for a place which she can call home. Accordingly, presumably she is secretly craving for confinement in some way. The Narrator is indubitably more confined as a character than Holly which is the reason he is opposed to some of the choices she makes (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).HOMEBreakfast at Tiffany’s does not present a certain definition of ‘home’. Home can be anything. It can either be simply the sense to belong somewhere or a place surrounded by those closest to one. Holly is looking for this place. It is definitely not a house with its literal meaning; the brownstone cannot be considered a ‘home’; consequently, the novel questions traditional ideas of home (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).LOVE AND MONEYLove is introduced in various ways in the novel: the most apparent example is the Narrator’s unconditional love for Holly and love between friends which is also intense between the two of them. However, Fred is in love with her and is trying to convince her to stay in New York until the end. By contrast, Holly aspires to marry a rich man and live happily ever after. She is not moved by the Narrator’s moves, efforts and feelings. Breakfast at Tiffany’s rather than promoting a ‘happy ending’ version of love concentrates more on a naturalistic and down to earth side of it (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).SYMBOLSHOLLY’S CATHolly’s cat is an allegory: it symbolizes her incapability to create bonds with anything or anyone around her; as she herself claims she is autonomous and self-governing and so is the cat. In the last lines of the story though where Holly leaves the cat setting him free in a disadvantaged area she later regrets her deed and understands that she is afraid that she will never belong to anyone and this is the symbolism of the cat (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).BIRDCAGEThe present which the Narrator receives as a Christmas gift from Holly is a birdcage-an antique one-which Holly despises. The reason is self-evident. The birdcage symbolizes restriction and possession and even slavery, Holly is a free spirit thus she cannot stand seeing it (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).TIFFANY’STiffany’s is a jewellery storehouse where Holly tends to go to in order to get away since it symbolizes safety and organization. It is the ideal place for her; a place in which she can be happy and it is the kind of places she seeks to call home (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).HOLLY’S SUNGLASSES/MASKSHolly’s black glasses act as a covering, a protective tool which does not allow to other people to see her face expressions and her emotions. Holly is afraid to expose herself and for this reason she rarely takes them out. Similarly, at Halloween while strolling around New York streets along with the Narrator and stealing two masks from a shop they return home wearing them and veiling their real identities. Generally, in the story all the characters conceal their characters always pretending to be something else; different from whom they truly are (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).CONCLUSIONWhat can be drawn as a conclusion from this novel is that Holly’s and the Narrator’s paths entirely change and they do not meet again. The Narrator’s efforts to convince her not to leave for Brazil are in vain and there is no happy ending. The Narrator reminisces about the time when she lived in New York and states that the brownstone is haunted due to her absence. At the end of the story, he is described as more pessimistic and melancholic since he wishes she had not left. Holly made her choices and Breakfast at Tiffany’s leaves us, the readers unsatisfied with its disheartening ending.?