Christmas Memory By Capote Essay Research Paper

Christmas Memory By Capote Essay, Research Paper

It is curious that as children, humans have the ability to observe and remember

details of specific situations and instances yet lack the ability to describe

them. Truman Capote, as a grown man, took advantage of his vivid memories and

composed the short work, ?A Christmas Memory.? The story begins in late

November, a month symbolic of all the years gone by that Capote could remember

beginning preparations for Christmas fruitcakes. The year he has chosen, though,

is that of the last Christmas three friends spend together. A boy of seven,

Capote has but two friends: his ?sixty-something? year old distant cousin

and a loyal, happy pooch named Buddy. Although the age difference between the

cousins is great, it is clear that the two are almost on the same level of

intelligence. His old cousin is not ignorant or innocent by choice, rather,

because of her frail condition she has been brushed off by adults and has never

outgrown her childish ways. As the narrator, Capote recounts memories of good

times; the times before his family members decided that home was not where he

belonged. Overall, the story is bittersweet because there is joy to be found in

the simplicity of the three friends? happiness. However, after this specific

Christmas, Capote is forced to move out of his house and to leave his innocence

behind. The story is not purely self-serving because Capote uses this piece not

only to revisit his memories of happier times, but to also evoke the memories of

the readers. The theme of a loss of childhood innocence is one that many people

can relate to, as well. However, Capote composed this piece using the observant

eye of a youth juxtaposed against wisdom only gained with age. An uncommon usage

of colons is employed throughout his work to present different areas of text.

Although mostly used for introducing lists or great excerpts of quotes, Capote

uses colons for lists as well as for dividing lines of text to break the

monotony. Even more so, they are used as directions for the reader to understand

peoples? movements and the exact details of the story. For instance, at one

point Capote writes: ?Enter: two relatives. Very angry.? It is as if the

story is a play and he is the director telling the reader how to interpret the

scenes. Capote?s description of things is also different from the typical

person?s description. For example, to the laymen, the sun is a big, bright,

shiny ball of fire. To Capote, the sun rises ??round as orange and orange as

hot weather moons, balanc[ing] on the horizon, burnish[ing] the silvered winter

woods.? His word choice elicits more than just a visual sense of what he is

describing; they entice all the senses to jump into his memory. It is

distressing that the friends lack any real interaction with the others in the

household other than to be scolded. The reader feels as if perhaps the neglected

ones should be pitied. Yet, it is comforting that they find consolation in each

other and can appreciate each moment for its beauty. In the end, Capote recalls

his friend looking upon the land in front of them and back over time and

understanding, in a very mature manner, the profoundness of the world. With a

few words, an elderly lady who has not ventured outside her hometown reveals a

secret of life few ever realize. The kites that they give each other each year

represent a life of simple pleasures, when things were easier in Capote?s

world. This is why, in the end, Capote walks across the campus of his school

remembering days gone by, longing for the past, and searching for, again, the

simpler things in life and the meaning in a life void of happiness.


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