Breakfast at Tiffany’s Book Club discussion questions
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote is available as one of the Gold Coast Libraries’ Book Club kits.
**Please be aware that book discussion questions may contain spoilers**
Synopsis: Capote’s bittersweet novella takes place between the Autumn of 1943 and Autumn of 1944. The unnamed narrator of the story is an aspiring writer who lives upstairs in a Brownstone apartment in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. One of the neighbours name plates bears the title of Holly Golightly, travelling.
This catches the narrator’s interest, and leaves him fascinated with Miss Golightly.
Holly is a self-made creature with a curious past. She lives a stylish, quirky high life. She is vain and vulnerable. Generous but distinctly self-absorbed. She suffers horrible fits of loneliness and melancholy which she calls the ‘mean reds’. She has a deep rooted fear that she will never really know what is hers until after she has thrown it away. She lives escaping the past and chasing the future. Holly is searching for riches and a place to call home in a hopeless repeated cycle of yearning, acquiring and releasing. Holly herself is a bit like a rainbow – enchanting but fleeting. Have you met her? Meeting Holly changed the narrator’s life and she will surely change your life also.
1. What is home? Why does a sense of home always seem to elude Holly?
2. Why do you think that breakfast at Tiffany’s, the luxury jewellery store on Fifth Avenue, eases Holly’s “mean reds” and induces a feeling of calm?
3. Holly was a rather controversial character. If this tale took place in the 1970s instead of the 1940s, do you think Holly and her activities would have been so controversial?
4. Do you feel sympathy for Holly being taken advantage of by people such as “Sally Tomato” or do you dislike her for taking advantage of others?
5. What do you think of the narrator’s relationship/friendship with Holly?
6. The narrator spotted an expensive antique bird cage on display and later Holly surprises him by buying it with the instruction to “never keep a living thing in it”. She also makes reference to “never love a wild thing”. Do you think Holly feels trapped or caged up? How do you think this birdcage affects the plot? And how does that change when it is later put in the rubbish?
7. The introduction of Doc Golightly shines a new light on Holly. How does the narrator’s friendship with Holly alter after Doc’s arrival?
8. What of the narrator and the bar man Joe? Why were they so entranced and affected by Holly, even after she has disappeared?
9. How do you think that war impacted on the storyline?
10. In the end Holly’s destiny remains unclear, did you find this frustrating as a reader? Did it leave you with too many questions?
Review on Good reads
Review on Litlovers
Publisher’s website – Penguin