Literature / Breakfast at Tiffany's

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Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1958 novella by Truman Capote.

Set in Manhattan in 1943-44, and centering around a nameless gay writer's friendship with a bicurious, borderline Hooker with a Heart of Gold named Holly Golightly, the story is a touching meditation on the varying nature of love, and how people of disparate backgrounds can form unconventional family groups.

In the 1961 Film of the Book, Audrey Hepburn wears a fabulous Givenchy dress and holds a cigarette in a holder.


This novella provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Holly calls the writer "Fred" after her brother. She stops calling him that after she learns that her brother was killed in action overseas though.
  • Artistic License Geography: It's highly unlikely that the plane flying from Miami to Brazil will pass over the Andes. Granted, as it is Holly's words, it may just be a nod to her being Book Dumb, but the narrator seems to go along with the idea.
  • Artistic License History: There are some minor chronological discrepancies in the novella.
    • At the party at Holly's the narrator notices the newspaper report on the premiere of One Touch of Venus, which took place on October 7, 1943. Yet the party took place on October 6, 1943 at the very latest (exactly a week after their first meeting, which happened on some evening in September 1943).
    • At the same party, the narrator is asked if he saw The Story of Mr. Wassell, a film released in 1944.
    • Holly also quotes the song Maude, You're Rotten to the Core, which was written in 1952.
  • Bi the Way: Holly is this, though she's somewhat arrogant towards lesbians.
  • Blithe Spirit: Holly.
  • Book Dumb: Holly is pretty smart, but almost entirely uneducated. Mag probably qualifies too.
  • The Capital of Brazil Is Buenos Aires: Averted. Holly writes to the narrator that "Brazil was beastly but Buenos Aires the best."
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's stated right off the bat that it had been years since the main character had ever seen or heard from Holly, and that she may well be somewhere in Africa at this point.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Holly's cat is named...Cat.
  • The Ghost: Fred, Holly's mentally retarded brother who joined the army. Eventually he's killed in action overseas.
  • Gratuitous French: Holly Golightly does this often, usually incorrectly; so did her creator, Truman Capote, and many of his society friends who wanted to seem more society than they were.
  • Meaningful Name: What better name than "Holiday Golightly" could there be for a free-spirited ditz with an unserious approach to life? Noted with her hanging a sign on her door whenever she was out, "Miss Holiday Golightly Traveling". Bonus points for the sign having been made at titular Tiffany's.
    • And extra bonus points for the name Holiday - of which "Holly" is diminutive - being Meaningful Rename (her real name is Lulamae Barnes). "Golightly", however, is not an example of Meaningful Rename - it is her ex-husband's last name.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Holly's unnamed friend is a writer.
  • No Antagonist: Everything that happens to Holly happens because she's Holly.
  • No Name Given: The narrator.
  • Oblivious to Love: Holly is this towards the narrator, but even moreso towards Joe Bell.
  • Precision F-Strike: Holly, when abandoning her cat. Doubly precise considering the meticulousness of Truman Capote's prose.
  • Title Drop: "I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany's." Unlike in the adaptation, Holly never actually does, so the title alludes to an uttainable dream.
  • Walking the Earth: Holly is a downplayed example. She really wants to settle down, but she just can't until she feels that the place is right, that she can belong there. New York is probably her closest equivalent of that place though, and she leaves it involuntarily.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. In the very last sentences, we find out that Holly's cat found a new home.

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