Truman Capote Critical Essays

Truman Capote Critical Essays-42
Holly, while a gifted liar, shows “no revulsion against [her] identity,” and is “very much attached to this world, and therefore … She possesses a “loyalty to her own feelings for which she is willing to risk all” which allows her to “implicate herself in a wider range of experience than her predecessors encompass” (111).Yet Holly is not a one-sided character, the painful “price of unorthodoxy” is paid in full by a character still late in her teens (111).

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This search for a place that feels like home (not merely the place that one lives, but the place wherein an inner quietness can be obtained) is a driving theme throughout .

Stylistically, Hassan claims that the novella “approaches perfection” and that Capote is able to treat his topic with “marvelous selectivity” (112).

Appearing slightly less than two years after Levine’s essay, Ihab Hassan’s “Birth of a Heroine” applies Levine’s daylight/nighttime metaphor (Hassan refers to the latter as “nocturnal”) to a discussion of Capote’s published works.

Hassan’s focus is on with an emphasis on Holly Golightly, the novella’s heroine, as the character that literary critics have been searching for to embody the new hero of American fiction with “its absurdities and crazy yearnings” (109).

Because of this, Holly shatters the “pure self-reflectiveness” of Narcissus and achieves freedom (256).

While Hassan’s articles discuss Holly Golightly as the new American hero, Nona Balakian’s 1962 “The Prophetic Vogue of the Anti-heroine” explores her character in an entirely different context.Traditionally, women in literature have been “subsidiary figures, treated uncritically and seen more often as prototypes than as individuals,” yet there has been a recent shift within fiction towards with “de-romanticization of women” (135).Balakian’s criticism differs drastically from that of the critics all ready discussed in that there is little affection in the way that she treats the character, initially labeling Holly an “asexual clown,” and proceeding from there (135)..” I am publishing it here because it is the culmination of months of research and many hours of reading and, as such, it should be of use to anyone researching the critical response to the novella within Capote’s lifetime.I am giving permission for it to be used for educational purposes, however, please refrain from any attempts to pass it off as your own work.While the “supernatural defines the nocturnal mode of Capote, humor defines his daylight style,” where the narrative “assumes the chatty, first-personal informality of anecdotes” (233).The nocturnal stories of Capote deal with the supernatural as a metaphor for the unconscious, yet this is also “the source of our uniqueness, our insight and creativity” (238).In 1960, shortly after the publication of “Birth of a Heroine,” Ihab Hassan’s “Truman Capote: The Vanishing Image of Narcissus” appeared in .Based on the daylight/nocturnal dyad he treated previously, the theme of “Narcissus” is blended into the discussion and Hassan’s critical views are refined.Initially regarded as a Southern gothic writer dealing primarily in grotesques, the light, city-bound world of Holly Golightly indicated that Capote was capable of a wider range.Only slightly less than a year after the novella’s publication Capote would learn of the murders that would become the focus of was remade into the movie of the same name starring Audrey Hepburn in one of her defining roles.


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