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Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's


by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's Chapter 9 Summary

  • After their argument, the narrator decides "to put Holly Golightly absolutely out of [his] life" (9.1). He heads up to his apartment, grabs the bird cage, and leaves it in front of Holly's apartment. He thinks he's teaching her a lesson, but when he sees the cage in the trash the next day, he secretly takes it back up to his place (guess he showed her!).
  • Things are pretty awkward and tense between the two after this. When they see each other in the apartment building they avoid eye contact, and if the narrator ever sees Holly at Joe Bell's, he leaves the bar. Things continue on in this manner until the narrator notices a strange man outside of her apartment one day.
  • Although the narrator's used to seeing all sorts of men at Holly's apartment, he spots a "very provocative man examining her mailbox" (9.3). The man is "a person in his early fifties with a hard, weathered face, gray forlorn eyes. He wore an old sweat-stained gray hat, and his cheap summer suit, a pale blue, hung too loosely on his lanky frame; his shoes were brown and brand-new" (9.3). He doesn't ring Holly's doorbell, but keeps touching "the embossed lettering of her name" (9.3) on the door.
  • The narrator notices this man again later in the evening and he starts to wonder who he is. Maybe he's a detective or "some underworld agent connected with her Sing Sing friend, Sally Tomato" (9.4). Although he's still angry with her, the thought of Holly being watched by some seedy guy makes the narrator worry and he decides to tell her that someone is watching her.
  • As the narrator heads to dinner, he realizes that the man is following him and whistling the same song that Holly plays on her guitar and sings to. When the narrator enters the restaurant, the man follows him and sits down right next to him. The narrator decides to confront him and ask him what it is that he wants, and the man replies, "Son, […] I need a friend" (9.7).
  • The man shows the narrator an old picture of his family. There are six children and the man himself in the picture, and the narrator notices a "plump blond little girl with a hand shading her eyes against the sun" (9.6). The man points himself out to the narrator, points out Fred, and then points out a person who the narrator eventually recognizes as a young Holly. The narrator assumes that this man is Holly's father, but boy is he wrong.
  • It turns out that Holly's real name is Lulamae Barnes and that this man is not her father, but her husband. He's a veterinarian from Texas named Doc Golightly and he tells the narrator that he's been searching for Holly ever since she left five years ago. Apparently, Fred sent Holly's New York address to Doc, and this is how the man knows where to find her.
  • Doc wants to take Holly home so she can be with "her husband and her churren" (9.13), and it turns out that the four remaining kids in the picture are Holly's stepkids. They're older than she is, but since she married their dad, he believes she should be home acting like a mom.
  • It seems Doc married Holly when she was just fourteen, and we get to hear the story of how she and Fred came to live with Doc in the first place. Both of Holly and Fred's parents died from tuberculosis, and Doc's oldest daughter finds them trying to steal milk and eggs one day. The two kids were in terrible health – malnourished, thin, and with rotted teeth. Upon their parents' deaths, the Barnes kids are sent to live with different people, and Holly and Fred end up "with some mean, no-count people" (9.18). This is who they've run away from when they end up at Doc's.
  • Life seems to be going OK for Holly and Fred once Doc takes them in. Doc teaches Holly to play the guitar, he teaches a crow to say Holly's name, and he lets Holly lounge around and do whatever she wants while the rest of the kids do all the work. Before he knows it, he falls in love with Holly (mind you, she's still just fourteen), and asks her to marry him, to which she agrees.
  • Doc indulges Holly's every wish, including subscribing to every magazine she wants (which he blames for her desire to leave him since she gets to see and read about far-off places). But, soon, Holly starts to wander. She takes long walks every day, but she always comes home. Then the walks get longer and longer until she just doesn't come back one day.
  • Fred, however, doesn't leave, and he lives with Doc until he's drafted into the army. It's Fred who stays in touch with Holly and it's Fred who tells Doc where she is in New York. Doc races to New York because he knows Holly "wants to go home" (9.20), but he doesn't want to freak out Holly by confronting her, so he asks the narrator if he'll let Holly know that he's in town.
  • Still angry with Holly, the narrator relishes the idea of revealing Doc in front of Holly's friends, but he changes his mind when he sees how hopeful and serious Doc is about a reunion with his wife.
  • The narrator does go to Holly's apartment while Doc waits downstairs, and when she answers she assumes the narrator is there to bury the hatchet: "'Well, idiot,' she said, and playfully slapped me with her purse. 'I'm in too much of a hurry to make up now. We'll smoke the pipe tomorrow, okay?'" (9.22).
  • The narrator responds by calling her Lulamae, and upon hearing this Holly thinks that Fred has come to New York. She runs into the hall and calls for her brother, but it's Doc who appears. Holly seems more disappointed than anything, and Doc seems "hangdog and shy" (9.25), awkward in front of Holly.
  • At first, Holly doesn't seem to recognize Doc, but then she "touch[es] his face; her fingers test […] the reality of his chin, his beard stubble," and she "kisse[s] him on the cheek" (9.26). Doc is so happy to see her that he lifts her up when he hugs her, and the two seem lost in their own little world.

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