What did you like most about reading Breakfast at Tiffany's? Well, I loved the film and I LOVE Audrey Hepburn but what I enjoyed most about the book was that it is so un-Hollywood. Holly is not so petite and lovely but rather brash and straight talking. There is no happy ending, in fact there are many unanswered questions and I like the fact that the reader can decide for himself what has happened to Holly. The possibility that she had not found whatever it is she is looking for is more intriguing than the classic Prince Charming ending. At least the cat finally finds a good home!
The most interesting theme for me is the recurring concept of names or the lack of them. In Holly's conversation with the narrator, he perceives her childhood as 'elusive, NAMELESS, placeless' and in fact we don't know exactly where she comes from originally. The narrator himself only gets a name when Holly decides to call him Fred like her brother. The cat is a "poor slob without a name. It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name. But I haven't any right to give him one: he'll have to wait until he belongs to somebody....If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name.” But of course Holly is not even her real name."
Capote's first choice for his heroine's name was 'Connie Gustafson'. But perhaps this name revealed too much about her ancestry and origins. Being named 'son of Gustaf' gives her Swedish, Danish or Norwegian origin and attaches her too much to her birth family of which she mentions only her brother Fred. In contrast, Holly keeps Doc's surname, indicating that although it transmits superficiality it also gives the idea of softness. Obviously she really was fond of the man enough to want to be recognised as part of his family. Holly's husband has no first name and is known by his title 'Doc' that indicates that as a vet he has a relatively important place in society. This social standing could have represented a sense of quiet security that first attracted and then bored Lula Mae.
Lula Mae's name obviously takes its inspiration from Capote's mother Lillie Mae Faulk. Lillie Mae also moved to New York from the south, New Orleans. After his parents divorced, Capote was first raised by his mother's relatives, not her, and only joined his mother in New York with her new husband at the age of 11. Maybe Capote thought his mother was trying to improve her own situation without consideration for her son and so also acted lightlly.
Holly instead comes from Holiday and communicates a wandering spirit. Perhaps she wants to say that she doesn't care about anything or take anything seriously as she is 'travelling' constantly through life. There is much speculation about Capote's name choice but it is thought he was inspired by women he met socially. One of his acquaintances was model Dorian Leigh, known as 'Happy Go Lucky', one of the first fashion icons and supermodels. In this picture she bears a striking ressemblance to Audrey Hepburn, don't you think?
Can you find explanations behind the other characters' names? What are the most memorable character names in literature? Tell me in the contents!
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What is this?
When I started lostinclassics I looked for language lessons in the books I was reading, such as for example the use of phrasal verbs or inversion in conditionals and I explained them through examples found in the text. I also did reviews of the books I read and tried to give some advice on how to read classics using the various resources I know of. Then I switched to just reviews and lately I have been doing a bit of creative writing inspired by my reading. Who knows what I will come up with next!