Study Guide

Breakfast at Tiffany's Chapter 5

By Truman Capote

Chapter 5

  • Even though Holly didn't seem to like Mag much the night before, when she runs into the narrator the next day she lets him know that Mag is still in her apartment and Holly seems pretty sympathetic that her guest has "a hang-over out to here" (5.1).
  • Soon after, we're introduced to Mag's fiancée, who the narrator describes as "the Latin who came to [his] door, mistakenly" (5.1). He is a handsome man with a "bullfighter's figure" and a "bashful manner" (5.1), and he arrives one day with a lot of suitcases, which intrigues the narrator.
  • On the following Sunday, the narrator hears Holly and Mag on the fire escape and the two women are chatting while waiting for their hair to dry (it seems Holly has changed her mind about Mag a little). Talk quickly turns to the men in their lives.
  • Mag thinks that Holly is lucky to have Rusty since, at the very least, "he's an American" (5.4). Holly doesn't seem very impressed by this, but Mag tells her that this is indeed a big deal since they're in the middle of a war. Mag considers herself quite the patriot and stutters to Holly that she's "p-p-proud of [her] country" (5.8) (not surprisingly, Holly doesn't seem to share this sentiment).
  • Holly briefly mentions her brother Fred, who's a soldier in the war, but Mag thinks she's referring to the narrator. Mag tells Holly that she thinks the narrator "look[s] stupid" (5.10). Holly corrects her, though, and says that the narrator simply has the look of "yearning" (5.11) since he's on the outside looking in and "He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out" (5.11).
  • Mag then starts talking about her fiancée, José, who is Brazilian, and it seems that Mag will be moving to his home country with him since he wants to be Brazil's president. She declares that she "'must be madly in love'" (5.18), and while this all sounds very romantic, Holly is more interested in learning about their sex life and the conversation turns a little bawdy.
  • Holly wants to know if José bites Mag during sex, which he apparently does not, but Mag tells her that he does laugh during sex, which Holly appreciates. As Holly presses for more details, Mag tells her that she really can't remember, so Holly suggests that she "try leaving the lights on" (5.29) so that she has something to look at. Mag's a little embarrassed about this and tells Holly that she's actually a "very-very-very conventional person" (5.30), but Holly reveals that she sees nothing wrong with looking at men when they're naked since "men are beautiful" (5.31).
  • Mag eventually reaches the conclusion that she really does love José, but she laments the "Heat. Rain. J-jungles" (5.38) that await her in Brazil. Holly says that she'd enjoy that, and Mag replies, "Better you than me" (5.40), which Holly agrees with.