Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories Breakfast at Tiffany's question

Holly + narrator's relationship: Why CAN'T it be sexual/romantic?
deleted member Jun 19, 2011 08:54PM
I just finished watching the movie version of this book, which totally twists the story by turning it into a romance. I was offended, but now I can't figure out why.
What is it about Holly's and the narrator's non-sexual, non-romantic relationship...what does it add to the story? I know it adds something. (And isn't the narrator supposed to be gay...?)

The narrator of Breakfast at Tiffany's is most certainly gay. The only reference I remember off the top of my head is when he meets Jose and remarks to himself how attractive he is.

But actually the narrator has kind of a lack of sexuality, at least as it's expressed to the reader. We never hear of him dating. You notice that we also learn nothing about the jobs he does, although he has a few over the course of the story. His real preoccupation is Holly, because she is living a different kind of life, one I think he admires for its openness (because in the 40s, a man didn't necessarily "come out") and freedom. Holly is attached to him, too, because she craves male attention and, unlike every other man she knows, the narrator does not expect sex from her in return. Both of them are on the fringes of society, neither of them are emotionally equipped to have a real romance with somebody, so they have this friendship that stands in.

Hays Code standards for the movies in the 1960s meant that they had to change everything. It's a lovely movie, but it's got almost nothing to do with the book.

I remember somewhere Holly calls the narrator "Maude" which was 40's/50's slang for gay males (also, male prostitutes).

It isn't clear that the narrator is gay, not even implied; however, you may have noted he has the same birthday as Capote who was gay. Then he tells her he loves her which isn't something you say to a woman unless you mean it in a romantic sense.

Hollywood would have to cut something and add things to make the picture viable, for instance the miscarriage, references to various character's sexuality and Holly's more definite references to her sexual activity. And add things like a romance. In the case of the romance there was some suggestion that he at least had those inclinations.

V.M. Gautier "Then he tells her he loves her which isn't something you to a woman unless you mean it in a romantic sense" What? Really? FRIENDS do this. Friends do ...more
Oct 28, 2014 06:08AM

What is it about Holly's and the narrator's non-sexual, non-romantic relationship...what does it add to the story? I know it adds something."

The gender preference of "Fred" aside, the primary issue preventing a relationship is that Holly has set her sights on marrying a rich man, and anyone in her apartment building is "beneath" her.

"Fred"'s gender preference was never made an issue in the book.

I realize this is an old topic and I didn't read every response so forgive me if I repeat myself.

I think that the movie was wonderful, and the book was beautiful. But I finished the book feeling empty and melancholy. Even though he warns you in the beginning by saying something about "the last time I saw Holly" or whatever, I wasn't prepared for the end. The movie wouldn't have been a hit had they not taken that route because we'd all be like, "What the F! We never see her again?? I want more!" It's a much nicer idea to have her and Fred fall in love, even though I respect the book thoroughly and consider the book and movie to be so completely different that they are like Jekyl and Hyde (book vs. movie - nothing alike).

Hopefully I'm making sense. I'm not saying that the book should have had a romance, I'm merely stating the obvious: hollywood wanted them together.

I thought he was pretty much throughout the whole book, but in retrospect I think there's definitely a type of non-gay longing for her. I watched the movie right after reading it, and it bothered me too. Do we just want to think he wasn't pining for her? Maybe he was....

Feliks (last edited Apr 07, 2013 07:07AM ) Apr 07, 2013 07:04AM   0 votes
Even if Capote claimed this later, I don't necessarily put much stock in it. You know what he was like in his later years. The point is, he wrote the character in a way that most people can assume he is straight or neutral. If one wants to make a reach, yes there's a hint of ambiguity which lends itself to ANY speculation one wants to bring.

I make my judgment on what he wrote.

I thought Holly was very much like Truman Capote and he also was the he was both man and woman and the center of all the action! Wouldn't he just have loved that!

This is my favorite book, and I've read it several times. I think it's really interesting that some people got the feeling that the narrator was gay, because I just never picked up on that. I don't know if I was being oblivious, or if it's just not as implied as some say.
I always got the feel in the book that the narrator was in love with Holly, but, as in real life, things just didn't work out. In Hollywood, though, they have a chance to. I feel as if, had the book been exactly like the movie, it would've made a terrible read...too predictable and cheesy. The opposite also applies...had they made the movie too much like the book, I probably would've left feeling a bit disappointed.

Also scrubbed from the movie were the marijuana references in the book, see:

I preferred the book to the movie because of the romance angle. I do find certain aspects of the film to be intriguing, (I love NYC from that era, also a huge fan of womens fashion represented in the film, so visually the movie is a treat)but the romance made it cheesy, awkward and uncomfortable.

He liked her, but didn't want to touch her because she was dirty... it's a guy thing.

Monika (last edited Jun 16, 2012 11:17AM ) Jun 16, 2012 11:15AM   -2 votes
Truman Capote acknowledged that the narrator was gay.

When I was reading "Breakfast at Tiffany's" I also didn't have such an impression. However, I read all Harry Potter books several times and it never occured to me that Dumbledore was gay but... Rowling said he was... She destroyed my childhood...

To be honest, when I got to know about the fact that "Fred" was gay I felt a bit... well... disappointed?

Katie "Destroyed" your childhood? Seriously?
Jan 11, 2015 07:28PM

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