Holly Golightly: Shamelessly Herself

‘Dah-ling!’ she said, her red lips slowly spreading wide, rightly assuming that she was about to get her own way.

Uttering this line with such brilliant flair on the West End stage, was Pixie Lott. We had managed to nab front row seats at a cheap price and saw the play in incredible detail. The play was Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on Truman Capote’s book, and it depicted the story of Holly Golightly living in New York City. The story is told through a narrator, who lives in the same apartment building as Holly. This unnamed narrator, who Holly calls ‘Fred’ after her brother, is a struggling author, who gradually becomes besotted with Holly and writes about her time in the Big Apple.

Holly Golightly is a wild and adventurous woman, hellbent on doing things her way. She wants to figure out how to belong in such a rigid society and Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an amusing account of her brazen and smartly frivolous philosophy.

‘Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell,’ Holly advised him… ‘You can’t give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they’re strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That’s how you’ll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky… It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear.’

During the interval and the seemingly obligatory 15-minute wait for the ladies’ loo, I spoke to two women. Both had never read the book (I flirt with the idea that they may have never heard of Truman Capote) and only one had seen the film. The older lady was obsessed with the role of Fred in the film, going so far as to call her husband “Fred” since they had been dating when the film first came out. The younger lady wrote Holly off as a whore who was not in control of herself due to how she threw her body at any man who so happened to throw her a dollar.

The older lady had seen the film and seemed to dismiss the play as a romance. The younger lady hadn’t seen the film (quelle surprise) and believed it was about prostitution. In my opinion, both women grossly overlooked the meaning of the play. Holly may have had romances and many sexual relations, but that didn’t define her. This is also where I disagree with the film, since the film ends with Holly not escaping the country and travelling around the world (as the book ends), but caught up in the arms of the male protagonist. There’s nothing wrong with this ending, except for the fact that it goes completely against Holly’s uninhibited and enchanting character. The book’s ending is far more honest with the reality of Holly’s fate. In Holly’s own words:

‘It’s a bore, but the answer, is good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest – I’d rob a grave, I’d steal two-bits off a dead man’s eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day’s enjoyment – but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. Which isn’t being pious. Just practical. Cancer may cool you, but the other’s sure to.’


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