Reconstruction 9.2 (2009)

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Traveling with Holly Golightly: Breakfast at Tiffany’s as Cinderella Mythology
/ Dina Smith


Serialized from 1953 to its publication in 1958, and adapted into a celebrated film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1961, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s focuses on the ingénue/Cinderella figure Holly Golightly. A poor white, Southern-farm-girlturned starlet-turned-NewYork-call-girl, Holly Golightly both fascinates and repels the narrator of her story by the very libidinous terms of her mobility. She exists in the novel as the narrator’s construction: an untenable, though tantalizing, figuration of a deviant postwar female sexuality.

Cinderella is the classic story of women's mobility, and not so surprisingly we see stories of 1950s mobile women taking the form of the Cinderella story. Although there are numerous versions of the tale, the plot of the tale remains the same as do the key motifs around which the narrative coalesces. The story centers around a girl who has been orphaned by her mother, left to be raised by her father. The father then marries an evil woman who has two evil daughters in tow. In some versions of the tale, the father dies leaving Cinderella with her evil stepmother to raise her. In other versions, the father remains but is ethically and narratively absorbed by the stepmother's will. He becomes a shadowy figure in the tale, a eunuch. Once left in the stepmother's care, Cinderella then falls to the lowly servant position. She lives amid the ashes or cinders, next to the hearth. She performs the necessary and grinding domestic labor of the household. Her virtue and quiet labor separate her from her stepmother's and stepsister's greed and laziness. Eventually, the narrative fixates on the possibility for her escape from such an ashen position. The prince of the country is to have a ball to help secure him a prospective bride. The stepsisters attend and then Cinderella secretly attends only through magical intervention in the form of a fairy godmother or magical tree and turtledoves, depending on the version. Cinderella is then transformed from lowly servant to glamorous woman, departing for the ball in extravagant style. She meets her prince yet has to leave abruptly, accidentally dropping her silver or glass slipper behind her. The prince uses the slipper to find her: whoever has a foot that will fit in the dainty slipper will secure his affection. Eventually he finds Cinderella who magically fits the shoe (the role). She then leaves her ashen hearth to become princess. In some versions of the tale, she forgives her stepmother and stepsisters while in others the evil women are punished, often violently, by a magic that turns on them. As the Cinderella tale foregrounds the notion of “passing” as a means to class and social mobility, so too does Breakfast at Tiffany’s which often conflates the sexually ambiguous narrator with Holly.

Since what binds this essay’s texts is the Cinderella story, it uses the fetish objects constructing entry points into 1950s Cinderella discourse—narrative "facets" like the many faces of a Tiffany's diamond. This attention to detail is, after all, the logic of the fetish, and what more apt method to discuss Cinderella (and its numerous translations), which revolves around desired objects like a gold dress and a glass slipper. While the 1950s’ most enigmatic ingénue, Holly Golightly, subject of this essay, her connections with the West’s most popular fairytale will offer a series of questions. How does the Cinderella story connect with America's postwar Cinderella reconversion? How does the tale inform fifties domestic ideology, grounded on a clear sexual division of labor? From Audrey Hepburn to Holly Golightly, the fifties ingénue captivated precisely because she suggested the promises, lost or found, of the elusive American dream that hinged on her movement from ragamuffin to princess. This is after all capital's dream: the ability to transform and circulate raw material into the fetishized commodity. Its antidote, at least in this essay, will be to resist the teleology of capital. This essay will pause, or slip, at the narrative intersections of capital’s history, forever misplacing Cinderella’s slipper.

Cinderella's Things


Like many other folk tales deriving from pagan and Christian sources, the Cinderella story resembles the Lenten narrative, pivoting around mourning, sin, judgment, penance, and redemption. The Cinderella character often operates as a feminine Christ figure. She mourns the death of her mother and bears the sins of the larger family through her sacrifice as the family's primary laborer. She even wears the cinders or ashes (Ash Wednesday) associated with Lent, when Christians are reminded that God's forgiveness comes at an infinite price--through the sacrifice of his son or, in a Catholic sense, through penance. Her ashes then become the mark of a sacrifice that leads to redemption: "At night, when she was tired out with work, she had no bed to sleep in but had to lie in the ashes by the hearth. And they [her stepsisters] took to calling her Ashputtle [Cinderella] because she always looked dusty and dirty" (Grimm 492). From these ashes, Cinderella, like Christ or the Phoenix, will rise up to attain glory. But glory in Cinderella's terms is a dress made of silver and gold and, above all, a good marriage. Her tale, like the Horatio Alger and lottery winner's tale, follows her from ashes to affluence. The Lenten story then converts to a tale of redemption through chance commodity acquisitions, becoming one of the most enduring folk tales since the rise of capitalism. It is a tale that bespeaks the very circuitous movement of capital itself: from production (her labor), consumption (her dressing in gold dresses and glass slippers), and reproduction (her marriage and reentry into the domestic economy). Through the vehicle of the ball, Cinderella moves from ashen bed to the prince's bed. Instead of liberation, she finds another form of conscription at the tale's end.

Cinderella then becomes Rosie the Riveter's tale-of women's movement from Depression home, to the workplace, and back home again. And no wonder fifties pop culture itself circulated around this narrative; the decade seemed entranced by women who married and moved to spectacular homes sponsored by breadwinner men--the U.S.'s version of the Cinderella tale. Fifties' Hollywood fetishized its ingénue figures (Audrey Hepburn, Leslie Caron, Debbie Reynolds, and Sandra Dee), who themselves played a variety of Cinderellas: Sabrina, Gigi, Tammy, and Gidget. They in turn helped narrate the story of fifties' affluence as a Cinderella story: America's transformation from Depression poverty and World War II to global technological leader (Smith 27-28). Cinderella is never supposed to look back; she is never again to wear ashes. She does not admit, as Holly Golightly does: "I'm not fourteen any more (sic), and I'm not Lulamae ['Cinderella']. But the terrible part is (and I realized it while we were still standing there) I am. I'm still stealing turkey eggs and running through a briar patch. Only now I call it having the mean reds" (Capote 73). Holly Golightly reminds us that all Cinderellas, including affluent fifties America, still wear some ashes, can never quite rub away the Lulamae in them. Holly often falls back into her rural southern dialect when angry or confronted: "The fellow what done me wrong" (98) or "Mention that to a living soul, darling. I'll hang you by your toes and dress you for a hog" (86-87). She acknowledges how the past is always in the present, how poverty can't be washed or waved off by a magical wand or by a mystical narrative. And, like Capote (a displaced rural southerner from Monroeville, Alabama who attempted to fit into New York society and who shuttled to and from homes, never quite comfortable), Holly moves without erasing her past. She keeps traveling, suggesting the ways in which class position is always a complex process of negotiation. Holly also illustrates the uncomfortable price paid by the economically/socially mobile, a mobility that, like Capote's own celebrity, sometimes takes the form of social prostitution. Holly-as-callgirl is not so unlike Capote-as-New York- celebrity-darling.


Inspired by My Fair Lady's Ascot scene for which Cecil Beaton (one of Capote's closest friends) costumed the cast and extras in black and white, Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, one of the most celebrated social events of postwar America, brought together Hollywood, small-town Kansas (his friends from the In Cold Blood days), Washington, D.C. and New York society within the lush surroundings of the Plaza Hotel. As if to foreshadow this event, Holly Golighty gives a colossal party in her apartment, throwing together the novel's disparate, and in many cases grotesque, characters. The novel's party illustrates the ways in which such gatherings are condensations or exaggerations of larger social relations. Audrey Hepburn acted in a series of films (from Sabrina to My Fair Lady.) that used party scenes as narrative climaxes. These scenes, of course, attend to their star's glamour, illustrating her spectacular, magical relationship to the greater Hollywood spectacle. Thus, the ball is the postwar thread that links biographical and fictional elements; it illustrates Capote's and Holly's social mobility while functioning as an internal filmic stage for the Cinderella star.

Crystal Ball

Significantly, "having a ball" takes on the form of the possessive, a new relationship to the spectacle. As Guy Debord reminded us, "The spectacle corresponds to the historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life. It is not just that the relationship to commodities is now plain to see-commodities are now all that there is to see; the world we see is the world of the commodity" (Debord 29). Formally, to organize a biography or film or novel around a party is to succumb narratively to the spectacle--the central metaphor for today's capital relations. These texts logically equate the social event with display: being placed in circulation at a party (e.g. the debutante's ball) is to be absorbed within the spectacle. Cinderella, the fantastic literalization of this process, goes to the ball dressed in gold, silver, and glass -- important commodities. She literally becomes "capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image" (Debord 24). The Cinderella makeover finds the “useful" girl turning into an "exchangeable” woman by "putting on" the right clothes. The fifties' fascination with the Cinderella narrative betrays the era's own anxious desire for a makeover.

As for Breakfast at Tiffany's the short novella's devotion of twenty pages to one party scene—a full quarter of the book—suggests the significance of such scenes. Like all parties, this party acts as a condensed biography of its culture. In fact, we learn through gossip much about Holly Golightly: she is Southern, near sighted, an erstwhile Hollywood starlet, and a "real phony" in her agent O.J. Berman's terms. At this party, the narrator learns to read Holly through images, through verbal/gossip codes, understanding Holly only through and within the party's spectacle. And it is the rhetoric of the spectacle that informs the narrator's party descriptions. Reminiscent of The Great Gatsby's Nick Caraway who seems detached from both the working-class and affluent parties he attends, Capote's narrator is an alienated spectator within the visual tableau of Holly's party. He describes the party-goers like animals in an Orientalist zoo:

A creature answered the door. He smelled of cigars and Knize cologne. His shoes sported elevated heels; without these added inches, one might have taken him for a Little Person. His bald freckled head was dwarf-big: attached to it were a pair of pointed, truly elfin ears. He had Pekingese eyes, unpitying and slightly bulged. Tufts of hair sprouted from his ears, from his nose; his jowls were gray with afternoon beard, and his handshake almost furry (29).

This description is of Berman, the narrator's guide through the party. Clearly coded as a "society hound,” Berman and the narrator encounter Holly's friend and prostitute alter ego who also happens to wear an exotic syllable --"Mag Wildwood." These passages convey the parodic excesses of the novel's writer-as-narrator who falls into a sensational description very much in the spirit of nineteenth-century French physiologies, pamphlets popular in 1840s Paris for their cartoonish, satiric readings of various social types, characters, and practices found in the emerging city-culture. These pamphlets dissected class through codes allegedly found in visual details. This logic governs Capote's narrator, who cannot negotiate city dwellers individually, as well as the novella itself, continually described as a long character sketch. The narrator describes the party, its guests, and eventually Holly herself, in terms of the fetish. This "epistemology of the fetish," to use Robert Ray's phrase (109), becomes a research strategy, a way of making sense of a jostling city and its migratory population, including Holly. She in turn becomes the primary fetish object, a way of making sense of New York and the narrator’s own ambiguous sexuality.

Balled (Up)

Let us not forget that Holly first appears in the novel in the form of an African fetish figure, a discursive talisman that, for the narrator, unlocks the story of Holly. While on safari, a former neighbor finds an African fetish that resembles Holly and asks the wood carver about the beguiling, promiscuous woman who sat for the carving. The neighbors eventually become convinced that this statue is in fact an image of Holly. Capote cues his novella’s own image making: this meta-fiction is yet another substitute for Holly’s emergence through a series of fetishes.

The narrator eventually pieces Holly together through various brief and miscellaneous encounters, the kinds which can only happen in a city. Just as he reads the party (a condensation for the city) through its different character types, so too does he learn to read Holly through various codes. And in the end, he loses her. She refuses to surrender to his dissecting gaze. And it is this "loss" of her that opens up narrative possibilities. Holly elicits the primal fetish moment, the libidinal excess in which desire follows its lack. The fetish is a metonymy and as such can never “ball things up.” Rather, Holly is a condensation for self-expression whether it be on page or in bed—a condensed biography for larger social relations, an interesting, if distorted, portrait of society.


A British common law principle, "For a man's house is his castle," became the Honeymooners' Ralph Kramden's signature phrase, echoing the sentiments of his fellow postwar breadwinners. Their battle-cry for control over the domestic, however futile in Kramden's case, was by extension a desire for control over women's increasing labor power, their sexuality, and their central place in the Cold War cultural imaginary. As Kramden forever reminds us, the American housewife came to represent both the constraints and rewards of Cold War containment culture. In film, television, and advertisements, we saw this housewife beautifully contained in her suburban castle. In turn, her "gifts were the price [she] paid for food, shelter, and protection" (Coontz 55).

Another Hepburn Cinderella vehicle, Sabrina, illustrates this dynamic only too well, suggesting how women pay a price for a glamorous domesticity. Sabrina, like all Cinderellas, constantly circulates within the film as an object of desire. Sabrina eventually becomes the means to a merger's end, an unwitting player within the Larrabee's corporate globalism schemes (Smith 34). She thus functions in both private (domestic) and public (corporate) terms. Like all Cinderellas, she moves between two visions of domesticity: local (her home and its cinders) and state (the prince's castle). Sabrina's conscription reminds us that the fifties housewife was surrounded by a moat (an ideology) of crabgrass, Frigidaire appliances, and sexual servitude (she after all had to compete with the Playboy centerfold). She "served up" an image of a "'closed, domesticated nuclear family': closed in around itself, separated from its environment, focused especially on mutual intimacy and on child raising" (Fishman 34). This home, with its Cinderella housewife (who, as Sabrina suggests, is the perfect combination of glamor and utility), acted as both a retreat from the state, or more precisely from public pressures, and an emblem of its wonders (see Nixon's famed kitchen debate). As Elaine Tyler May notes, the nuclear family and home, with its tidy appliances, became a safe national haven from a variety of Cold War fears, from the bomb to Communism. Let us not forget that the "bomb-proof” building was to be constructed out of cinderblocks. The Cold War home-as-castle recalls the kinship of the Latin words: domus (house, home, residence, household), dominus (lord, master), dominium (in legal discourse: property, ownership, eminent domain), domare (to tame, domesticate, subdue, overcome), etc. The breadwinner's domain both housed and subdued the American housewife, and husband for that matter.


This nuclear family/home is largely the construction of juridical and state legislation and Cold War mythologizing. As Stephanie Coontz has argued, "Families have never been exempt from public intervention, including that of the state. The private, autonomous family of mythical tradition was, paradoxically, largely a creation of judicial activism in the nineteenth century and state regulation in the twentieth" (125). Though domesticated to serve a seemingly private function, the fifties housewife was scripted, in Cinderella fashion, to fulfill the needs of a nuclear state/family. Significantly, Holly Golightly never finds home in the novel's terms. She admits that "home is where you feel at home. I'm still looking"(102). The narrator can only hope that "African hut or whatever, I hope Holly has [found her home], too" (111). Interestingly, he cannot name the word home, for to do so would domesticate Holly, tame her "traveling" impulses in postwar terms. He can only hope the Holly that fascinates and haunts him has arrived "somewhere." Yet, Holly conveniently slips the text, escaping narrative constraints. So, although the Castle inevitably holds Cinderella in the patriarchal "happily ever after," Holly keeps traveling, despite the narrator's desire to see her alongside her cat, escaping domestication. She refuses to "belong," be caught by this national fantasy, as she admits: "I have a fair chance they won't catch me" (102). To catch Holly is to contain her, like Cinderella, in a Castle of male desire. She won't let them cast her in such a role.


As Cinderella’s clock strikes midnight, so too is Holly’s time (de)limited in the novella. Set during the 1940s, Holly’s narrative connects the war years to the mid-1950s. Holly simultaneously occupies the present and the past of the novella. This simultaneous occupation reveals a character fractured beyond any dialectical schema:

[I]n trying to delineate Holly’s character, we, like the narrator, will always be right and wrong at the same time because we have to acknowledge the tension played out between the destabilizing power of performativity and the coherency of the identity categories such performativity invokes. Because she occupies both figurative spaces of a dialectical relationship at the same time – gay/straight, queer/normative, girl/boy, regional/nonregional, young/mature, and so on – her identity makes sense only as an equivocation that keeps those opposing terms in perpetual motion. (Bibler 225)

As the clock’s hand marks a before and after for Cinderella, the virgule instead consigns Holly as simultaneously here and there, split in the novel’s vacillating time: present (1950s) and past (WWII). Holly is literally stuck in time, for her story, as Ihab Hassan argues, brings “no confirmation or knowledge” (255). In this way, Lullamae/Holly is always a “traveling” signifier in search of an historical referent, a sign, perhaps, of the gender instabilities of the 1950s present. Though seemingly held within memory and narrative, within the war years, she is “framed” during a time when narratives and images of liberated women had more currency (Kramer 61). “Holly,” therefore, is a textual bridge by which the narrator may navigate the shifting rhetoric of gender and sexuality from the early 1940s to the 1950s.

Ironically, Breakfast at Tiffany’s future is regressive, as disjunctive as having breakfast at Tiffany’s. Instead of moving forward, we have moved backward ideologically, a reminder that gender, sexuality and identity itself are historically configured. The novel thereby challenges a teleological view of a progressive identity politics. Holly resembles women of the early twentieth-century. These women “challenged the sexual norms of their day, pushed the divorce rate up and the birthrate down, and created a unique youth culture” as well as developed “a powerful feminist movement, strong grass-roots activism on behalf of social justice and a proliferation of radical movements to challenge the status quo” (May 9). As a character writ in the narrator’s fictional memory, Holly performs against feminine/gender codes of the 1950s, a period noted for its strong domestic ideology and consensus politics (9). The narrator remembers Holly during a period when, for the first time in U.S. history, as Stephanie Coontz argues, ‘[m]en as well as women were encouraged to root their identity and self-image in familial and parental roles” (Coontz 27). As Holly unconvincingly recounts a happy day-in-the-life of a woman preparing for marriage: “I take his suit to the cleaners, or stuff some mushrooms, and I feel fine, just great” (83).

Liberated and single, Holly acts as an historical antecedent, representing the possibilities for women and a host of “others” in the war years. Holly’s departure from the text represents the foreclosure of such mobility during the cold war era. The novel creates a conundrum: is she adapted to fit or not fit the future? Holly’s story is transgressive on a number of levels: constructed in a late-1950s present, as memory of the war years (1943-44), Holly’s identity is indelibly imprinted in the Depression. According to the novel’s series of internal narrations, “Lullamae” leaves Texas during the late 1930s, a period of forced itinerancy for a generation of rural Americans. Transformed into the posh “Holly,” in a kind of Hollywood-style makeover, Lullamae invokes the U.S.’s own economic makeover post-Depression. Holly exists in the intertext, between the war years and the 1950s, a complicated historical genealogy, in which Lullamae/Holly acts as an internal and exterior projection. Lost in time, like Cinderella’s lost time, Holly is constructed inside the discourses of the American 1950s as a signifier of the 1940s (as “Holly”) and the 1930s (as “Lullamae”).


The Vintage paperback edition of Breakfast at Tiffany's has a cover image that alludes to both the novel and Grimm's Cinderella story. The cover shows, in a reverse negative, a group of doves flying chaotically in front of Tiffany and Co.'s doors. The image is hazy, taken in motion or in stop-motion photographic style; the blur of cars and the birds' fluttering wings cast shadows over the store's front. It is a melancholic image, in muted gray and blue tones, with only the "ANY" portion of the "Tiffany and Co." logo clearly visible. The cover is as indeterminate as the enigmatic Holly or the novel itself. Not ANYbody can buy in Tiffany's, a fact to which the doves bear isolated witness. Their fluttering movement illustrates the bustling labor surrounding Tiffany's immovable, imposing storefront. These birds, after all, are a part of the city's scavenger community, waiting for crumbs or the waste left by milling commuters.These floating figures stand in direct opposition to the mANY promises offered by a glittering Tiffany's.

This bird's labor has often been mythologized. The Biblical Holy Spirit, often represented in dove form, navigates between the divine and humanity: Noah's dove flies in search of dry land. In the Grimm's Cinderella story, turtledoves labor on behalf of the grief-stricken girl, working for her as domestic servants. Their labor, separating lentils in quick fashion so the girl may attend the ball, illustrates the grind of domestic work as "for the birds." These doves, in the fairy godmother role, later toss her the requisite ball dress and slippers from a magical hazelnut tree, thereby reconciling domestic labor with magical upward mobility. With this golden dress, symbolic of the golden wedding band, they wrap her in a gilded cage, ready for marriage consumption. Breakfast at Tiffany's reworks this "bird in a gilded cage" image. The novel's gay narrator fetishizes this hackneyed trope, when he admires: “a palace of a bird cage, a mosque of minarets and bamboo rooms yearning to be filled with talkative parrots. But the price was three hundred and fifty dollars” (15). The trope comes at a stiff price.


If Holly represents the attractions of an undomesticated World War II female sexuality, then this cage is the opposite: a hyper-annunciated, campily rendered version of nineteenth century domesticity, complete with the colonial "bamboo" and "mosque-like" trappings. The cage is an image of domesticity as an extension of a controlling patriarchy that limits freedom, including sexual freedom. It symbolizes submission, repression, and the domestication of (women's) bodies. It is the Judy Garland (a gay camp figure) of nineteenth-century feminine tropes, as excessive as Cinderella's golden dress. In between public sightings of Holly, the narrator tries to wrap Holly's image in this cage, after stumbling upon it while strolling through antique stores. Holly then weaves in and out of his antiquated musings on femininity. She is the bird linguistically fluttering about this description, neither inside nor completely outside its restraints (this cage may also symbolize the nineteenth-century novel or a realism devoted to readable, definable characters). Holly nevertheless continually highlights the cage's economic hold, telling the narrator: "But still, it's a cage. . . Promise me, though. Promise you'll never put a living thing in it" (59) As if to prove her point, she repeatedly cajoles the narrator into leaving his sexual cage.

And yet, Holly's prostitution calls attention to how all Cinderellas are engaged in a transaction: "Do me a favor, darling. Call up the Times or whatever you call it, and get a list of the fifty richest men in Brazil. I'm not kidding. The fifty richest: regardless of race and color" (104). Husband hunting is no different than securing tip money for "trips to the powder room." Both require the same kinds of physical cages, a gold dress and pumpkin to get you there. In Uncontrollable Bodies, Carol Leigh (AU performance artist "The Scarlet Harlot") describes the relationship between golden fetishes and female sexuality: "Other women still wear high heels, bras and lipstick. They walk around in fetish gear for free, sexualizing themselves at every opportunity, and I'm supposed to not get paid to play this role. It's all whoring just the same" (247). Breakfast at Tiffany's draws our attention, opens the door, onto a variety of golden fetishes that attach themselves or are stamped onto women. Ironically, in the film, during the party scene, Holly’s apartment possesses a cage, an allusion to the one she will not accept in the novella. Suspended in a cage sits a stuffed bird.


The film version of Breakfast at Tiffany's has indelibly linked Holly Golightly to "she who wore that little black dress." The dress is Holly's signature. And Audrey Hepburn, the woman who wore that slender, slip of a dress, has become the metonym for Holly. The made-for-television series, The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000), chose to enclose her biography within the Breakfast at Tiffany's frame: the show begins with the Hepburn character, wearing that dress, beginning production on the 1961 Blake Edwards' film, then flashes back to the early years, ending with her full immersion in the Holly role. The suggestion is that Holly's journey was much like Hepburn's, and the dress links them together. And like Holly who mysteriously emerges and captivates her narrator -- "an abrupt rapping at the window, a glimpse of ghostly gray: I spilled a bourbon. It was some little while before I could bring myself to open the window, and ask Miss Golightly what she wanted" (17)--, Hepburn's "ascent was extraordinary, and no less remarkable because, like all Cinderella stories, she seemed to come from nowhere" (Keogh 82). Hepburn and Holly do come together biographically: both emerged from impoverished obscurity to win over audiences with a trademark style. Even though Capote had wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly in the film role, it is as if he had cast Hepburn as Holly while writing the novel, so inescapable are the similarities between the two. Illustrating the studio’s perfect casting, one of Paramount’s press books placed a photograph of Hepburn next to each sentence in the novel’s first passage that describes Holly, in effect introducing Holly as Hepburn (Kramer 64). As this passage describes Holly,

It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim cool black dress, black sandals and a pearl choker. For all her chic thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks. Her mouth was large, her nose upturned. A pair of dark glasses blotted out her eyes. It was a face beyond childhood, yet this side of belonging to a woman. I thought her anywhere between sixteen and thirty: as it turned out, she was shy two months of her nineteenth birthday. . . [S]he was always well groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes, the blues and grays and lack of luster that made her, herself, shine so. One might have thought her a photographer's model, perhaps a young actress, except that it was obvious, judging from her hours, she hadn't time to be either (12-15).

Echoing this description of Holly, Polly Mellen, editor of Allure magazine, types Hepburn's style as dressing in an "eliminated way -- not garish or glitter" (Keogh 71). Hepburn's agent once commented that she would look good "in lint." Gregory Peck admitted that Hepburn's style "was uniquely hers" (Keogh 40). She dressed simply, avoiding high heels, ruffles and lace and other Hollywood star trappings, a perfect mate for Holly Golightly's "plainness" and "good taste." Hepburn overturned the conventional Hollywood aesthetic. She was thinner, simpler, and more “European" than her postwar counterparts. Here star and screen image merge into persona. As Audrey Wilder (Billy's wife) once commented, "Audrey came to town and everyone immediately wanted to lose ten pounds" (Keogh 74).


As Pamela Clarke Keogh notes in AudreyStyle, “Part of Audrey's attraction, of course, is not that she was the breezy California girl next door. Her black turtleneck, leggings, ballet flats, and gamin haircut, even the yappy dog that went with her everywhere, were very European" (78). Hepburn has a complicated relationship to "Europeaness." A frequent favorite of Look magazine, Hepburn introduced postwar French couture (Givenchy) fashions in her films and to the American public, beginning with Sabrina and climaxing in Breakfast at Tiffany's to create the quintessential Audrey look. As Gaylyn Studlar argues, “Sabrina offers the narrativization of a female consmer fantasy of fashions transformative possibilities” (Studlar 165). Indeed, “Sabrina represents the first full-scale use of European fashions, documenting the decline of studio control over the Hollywood look and the eclipse of the costume designer's role” (Smith 42). Although Hollywood had hired French designers in the past, such as Coco Chanel, the merger had never quite worked, for star and designer often squabbled over the right "look." Yet, with Hepburn's choice of Givenchy and eventual alliance with the designer, Hollywood in effect began to purchase French fashions to recreate itself, enunciating and cementing its long-term relationship to a European market. These new fashions respond to their larger political context: “Hollywood, like the U.S., moves from a provincial (in-studio) aesthetic to an international player/figure” (Smith 43). In an eerie coincidence, in the novel Lullamae learns French as a means of relearning the English language, stripping away her white trash roots to become “Holly.” The acquisition of the foreign can displace even the white trash past (but not cause it to disappear). Frenchness in film and novel becomes an antidote to American provinciality, a means of remaking national and individual identity.

Hepburn was the perfect figuration for a postwar consumer logic where class was measured by how much and how well one spent, essentially donning the correct consumption practices. If the postwar years were devoted to spending, then Hollywood, like much of mass culture during the period, reiterated this logic: “Women shaped like couture mannequins, posed like them, and wearing clothes indebted to Paris fashion were used to sell a vast array of consumer products, from automobiles to lipstick” (Studlar 164). As designer mannequin, Hepburn illustrated the ways in which fifties' class discourses circulated around the "putting on" of the right codes, codes more European in texture: “Hepburn’s commodification as an elegant, Continental-flavored ingénue continued to be asserted through her couture clothes, upper-class accent, refined manners and balletric carriage” even if her Cinderella characters were not in every case wealthy (Studlar 167). In this typification of the star-as-mannequin, Hepburn becomes the perfect metaphor for classic Hollywood, where mass-produced commodities (narrative cinema) are wrapped in a clothing of simulated difference (the fetishized, individuated stars who help sell the product). Her rise begins the moment she puts on that dress. The dress thus erases Cinderella's ashen beginnings, her banality, and opens up the ball's locked doors. Yet, as we know, Holly Golightly illustrates the inescapability of tr(ash) roots. The dress ultimately signifies a transition from domestic to sexual labor, the figurative bridge between these two sides of "women's work."


The literary forebear to Holly Golightly and another peculiar Cinderella, the French grisette similarly traverses these two domains. Grisettes were a class of early nineteenth-century women who left the French countryside to achieve a measure of financial autonomy within the city. In Paris, they labored in manufacturing sectors devoted to detailed, fine articles such as lace that required some expertise, sending money back home. In the process, these young women made alliances with the young male students who were their neighbors in the inexpensive Latin Quarter. As Jerrold Seigel notes,

Both groups were young, away from their families, and not tied to regular work schedules. Students could lighten the grisettes' lives with good food or presents, and who could impress them with a show of elegance, could often win them as mistresses... Such liaisons, brief or lasting, were not expected to be for life: the grisette who understood the world would find an artisan for a husband once her student had returned to his provincial home. By the early 1840s, the mythology of the grisette had become a staple of romantic fantasy: available, grateful and understanding, unencumbered by bourgeois morality, the grisette of popular literature was a perfect answer to the physical and emotional needs of lonely, sometimes idle, and often self-centered younger bourgeois." (40)

Anticipating Holly's fascination for both the narrator (who often assumes a middle-class point-of-view) and the other men in the novel, the French grisette figure illustrated (to a bourgeois audience) both the desire to escape conventions and the cost of such breaks. The romanticized literary grisette figure, though, "confused sexual liberation and carefree promiscuity with the disorienting and disruptive effects of urban experience and economic necessity on traditional rural mores" (41). The romantic grisette mythology often rubbed against the lived lives of these women who acted out of social and economic necessity, often impregnated and abandoned (like Holly) by the young students who wooed them. The grisette became known, like Holly and Hepburn, by the dress she wore: a dress made out of a trademark gray cloth. "A glimpse of ghostly gray," the grisette wears a dress that marks her role. Echoing Edgar Allen Poe’s ghost stories, Capote reminds us that Holly haunts the novel’s landscape, or as Doc Golightly remembers Lullamae’s departure: “Every day she’d walk a little further: a mile, and come home. One day she just kept on . . . The crow I giver her went wild and flew away. All summer you could hear him. In the yard. In the garden. In the woods. All summer that damned bird was calling: Lullamae, Lullamae” (70).

Fairy Godmother

If Cinderella has a fairy godmother, then Holly Golightly has Truman Capote. Though many writers project autobiographical elements of themselves in their narrators, Breakfast at Tiffany's inscribes elements of Capote in several distinct novelistic personas. These characters act out a split Capote in terms of their anxious relationship to postwar cultural norms. The novel is then a meta-commentary on Capote as postwar outsider: Capote the tortured gay writer, society prostitute, and self-conscious effeminate man.

Capote was a famously gay ("fairy") writer, perhaps the twentieth-century's most celebrated gay novelist, who emerged during this century's most repressed cultural moment. What Capote wanted most was the attention of his mother, a woman who, among other things, refused to acknowledge his homosexuality. His was a childhood of awkwardness: a high-pitched voice (that stayed with him), effeminate gestures, infant-like features, and dandy dress. His demeanor corresponded to conventional homosexual stereotypes: he was slight, beautiful, and fey. In other words, Capote had a difficult time hiding his homosexuality and thus embraced it as an adult, much to his mother's discontent. His friends referred to him as the adorable little "bunny” -- a precious man who became the photographic darling of New York society.* Compounding this sense of physical difference, Capote found himself the child of divorced parents both of whom virtually abandoned him. Raised, for the most part, by his great aunts in the Monroeville, Alabama, he later moved to Connecticut to be with his mother. Moving to New York City, he attached himself (financially and socially) to a series of powerful New York women, who took on the role of mother surrogates. Within this itinerant background, Capote clung to women, a complicated relationship that suggested a compensatory substitute for his childhood abandonment and exclusion. Capote’s mother committed suicide in 1954, and, as Peter Kramer argues, “it is quite possible to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the first major new project Capote tackled after her death, as, amongst other things, a portrait of his mother,” a requiem of loss and mourning (61). We can then read Capote's oeuvre, especially Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as an exegesis on his own trashed status, sexually marginalized and continually abandoned by mother, father, and later by society patrons.

Capote patterned his adult living habits and much of his fiction on this "tragic" childhood. For instance, he replicated his childhood itinerancy through compulsive moving, from various summer rentals to homes on the east and west coasts. And, yet, Capote liked to write about familiar locales, the South of his past and the New York of his present. His novels are heavy with local detail and specificity of character: the small, intricately sketched Kansas town of In Cold Blood or the decaying southern mansion and gothic cousins of Other Voices, Other Rooms. He also patterned his fiction on the experience of an anxious homosexuality, creating, as in The Grass Harp, a series of outsiders. For as a gay man in postwar America, Capote experienced both the social derision and curiosity that came with such a label. Homosexuality had entered the national discourse as antithetical to American cowboy diplomacy. After the War, U.S. domestic and international policy linked a tough masculinity to the discourse of national superiority. War-torn Europe and Communism were soft and effeminate. As Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. phrased it, Communism was "'something secret, sweaty, and furtive like nothing so much, in the phrase of one wise observer of modem Russia, as homosexuals in a boys' school"' (Patterson 181). By the early fifties, homosexuals headed the list of people defined as security risks. Capote, openly gay for the period, tended to closet his gay characters, focusing on sexually transgressive figures who “get lost” within the novels. The narrator never defines Holly as a prostitute, although a shrewish neighbor refers to her "whoring around." She gets coded in the period's veiled sexual rhetoric. As the novel holds and releases Holly, its sexualized aesthetic responds to larger cultural anxieties. Capote's fiction thus self-consciously explores the period's gender/sexual repressions and displacements, simultaneously defying and simulating the tendency to cloak homosexuality in postwar America. Capote's "deviants," however, are sympathetic, likable characters. They fascinate their author as well as the public, suggesting a displacement of sexuality within the discourse of popular fiction.

Compounding this sexual exclusion, Capote also lacked the requisite intellectual credentials compared to other writers of the period. Most notably, he never attended college. Instead, Capote used his lovers and male admirers to gain cultural capital. As he referred to Newton Arvin, a renowned American Renaissance scholar and his first profound love: "Newton was my Harvard" (Clarke 119). He also used his New York "swans"-the society women who befriended the charismatic young writer-to teach him the ins-and-outs of society etiquette and decor. His favorite companions represented New Yorks society's most fashionable women of the day: Slim Keith, Oona Chaplin, Babe Paley, Kay Graham, Gloria Guinness, and Lee Radziwill. These women decorated his apartments, invited him on yachting excursions, traveled with him to Europe, etc. They became his social guides, moving him further and further away from his rural childhood. Capote eventually moved to California and took up with the Hollywood set, broadening his social repertoire. By the late-1960s and 1970s, his professional identity shifted from writer to talk-show-oddity.

Fairy Tales

This conflicted biography is echoed in Breakfast at Tiffany's or, more precisely, in the novel's intersecting characters. The narrator is a closeted homosexual, who writes veiled homosexual narratives: "I'd finished [the story] the day before... it was about two women who share a house, schoolteachers, one of whom, when the other becomes engaged, spreads with anonymous notes a scandal that prevents the marriage"(Capote 21). The story's plot, of course, closely resembles Lillian Hellman's famous lesbian play A Children's Hour (and Audrey Hepburn starred in the play's screen version). The waffling narrator cannot recognize the homosexual elements of his own work, tending to closet his characters within rhetorical self-denial. Holly, with her fluid sexuality, recognizes the homosexual elements: "Well really, darling... if it's not about a couple of bull-dykes, what the hell is it about?" Holly and the narrator represent the twin narratives of postwar "deviant" sexuality, freedom and containment: Holly is open, libidinally free; the narrator is self-denying, to the point of never identifying (naming) himself

Many of the novel’s characters –the narrator, Holly and the unctuous Rusty Trawler -- have childhoods defined by tragedy. Rusty Trawler and Holly are orphans; the narrator's childhood is equally tragic:

I thought of the future, and spoke of the past. Because Holly wanted to know of my childhood. She talked of her own, too; but it was elusive, nameless, placeless, an impressionistic recital, though the impression received was contrary to what one expected, for she gave an almost voluptuous account of swimming and summer, Christmas trees, pretty cousins and parties: in short, happy in a way that she was not, and never, certainly, the background of a child who had run away... Or. I asked, wasn't it true that she'd been out on her own since she was fourteen? She rubbed her nose. 'That's true. The other isn't. But really, darling, you made such a tragedy out of your childhood I didn't feel I should compete (54).

Both the narrator and Holly tell twin lies, their tragic narratives rub together in elliptical evasion suggesting the literary osmosis of Capote's biography and fiction. These orphan characters tend to abandon one another; Holly leaves the narrator at end as Capote's own mother left him. Capote also abandoned the South, continually returning to it through his fiction as the narrator returns to Holly through the novel: "I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbors" (3). And the novel focuses on the space of New York City and the woman who inhabits the space of memory, Holly. She is a composite character, echoing elements of both Capote and his mother. Holly uses a series of men to move up: Doc Golightly, a jockey, a Hollywood agent, and José the Brazilian. Holly travels through men, acquiring the necessary skills to survive and to move from rural Tulip, Texas orphan to New York call girl. Her movement is similar to Capote's own peripatetic lifestyle, or his shift from rural Alabama orphan to New York society darling. And, both Holly and Capote seem lost amid a New York both inviting and alien.

However attractive and stimulating Holly may be, Capote also casts an unflattering image of himself in Rusty Trawler: a childlike man who attaches himself to beautiful women, who because of his money (or, in Capote’s case, because of his "great author" status) is sought after but perceived as an occasional joke. The narrator's description of Trawler recalls Capote's own "raw baby-buttocks face" (56). Trawler, clearly coded as a latent homosexual, marries women and is subsumed by them. He is a prostitute to his own celebrity, clearly a self-conscious commentary on Capote's own anxious fifties celebrity. After all, Capote was the "most famous unpublished novelist" of the postwar era, having published salacious, much-talked about stories in Esquire and Mademoiselle prior to the publication of his first novel. Trawler similarly has an ill-defined celebrity--a wealthy vessel on which high society may attach its whims and fantasies. Trawler is a "catch," and he "catches" attention (as his surname name would suggest) through the glittering lure of his money and its attendant celebrity. Through Trawler, Capote challenges a particular kind of celebrity produced by media, how "money" itself is a celebrity. Trawler does nothing, rarely says anything but stands center-stage, a tabloid figure that represents the emptying out of heroic value. It is through him that Capote questions his own popularity in a culture swimming with writers, much more prolific and better trained, and perhaps too questions an America that stands alone (orphaned), with too much money in its pockets, ready to court a prostituted Europe with nothing so much as capital investments.

The shuttling biographical nature of Capote's novel suggests the slippery slope on which identity rests. Capote's "character" winds its way into his novel's characters, mutable, apocryphal forms that travel like Holly through and out of the text. If the Fairy Godmother of Cinderella's tale scripts the poor little ashen girl into a brilliant fairy of her own, then the fairy author scripts a little of himself in this complicated little novel.


The novel and the film of Breakfast at Tiffany's share an overdetermined coincidence. Both revolve around the circumstance of a miscarriage. In the novel, Holly Golightly chases her neighbor (the narrator) whose horse has run away with him. As a result of the rough ride, Holly loses a baby and thus loses the dream of domesticity. This domesticity is "put on," like a too tight Tiffany choker, after the death of her brother only to be taken off after the miscarriage. This is how Holly describes her brief foray with the domestic, a harbinger of fifties domesticity:

Love should be allowed. I'm all for it. Now that I've got a pretty good idea what it is. Because I do love José -- I'd stop smoking if he asked me to. He's friendly, he can laugh me out of the mean reds, only I don't have them much any more, except sometimes, and even they're not so hideola that I gulp Seconal or have to haul myself to Tiffany's: I take his suit to the cleaner, or stuff some mushrooms, and I feel fine, just great (83).

Holly substitutes domesticity, coded in terms of sexual servitude, for Tiffany's: both operate as consumerist fantasies that envelope her, chasing away depression. This passage reminds me of Adrienne Rich's poem, "Peeling Onions," in which the speaker/housewife of the poem cries while peeling onions, foregrounding her inability to express emotions outside this kitchen labor and with regard to this labor. Holly changes her tune after the miscarriage. She thanks the narrator: ""Bless you, Buster. And bless you for being such a bad jockey. If I hadn't had to play Calamity Jane I'd still be lookin forward to the grub in an unwed mama's home. Strenuous exercise, that's what did the trick" (100). Holly acknowledges the other side to domestic labor, especially for unwed women. To return to the grisette, Holly’s life, from a bourgeois perspective, "seemed attractive, independent, and free from restraint" (Seigel 40). As Holly reminds us, getting paid for trips to the powder room is less strenuous than childbirth and a life of economic dependence on a "Super-Rat."'

Holly's desire for autonomy is at stake in the novel, in many ways an ode to an unfettered, feminine sexuality drastically at odds with fifties images of domesticity. The novel reflects on the impossibility of a Holly in the fifties, yearning for her return. It yearns for a return of women before they were carried off by the fifties domestic narrative, the postwar Cinderella story.

Audrey Hepburn worked throughout the fifties while simultaneously dreaming of a "domestic" arrangement outside Hollywood. Yet, during a film shoot, Hepburn had a miscarriage after riding and falling off a horse. Thus, the Holly of the novel, herself coded in terms of her ability to assume a variety of roles, coincides with Hepburn who was to play her. Both come together through the miscarriage. Hepburn's biography offers a meta-commentary on Holly's vexed relationship to the domestic. Hepburn blamed her work, or more specifically her desire for economic autonomy, on her miscarriage. The lore that surrounds Hepburn today still constructs her popular fifties persona in terms of this domestic (personal)/ work (Hollywood) antinomy. As such, it perpetuates the notion that reproductive labor is at odds with public, economic labor. Hepburn in a sense paid the price for her success, a familiar sentimental plot that punishes the heroine for her individualism. That Hepburn chose to play Holly Golightly, her trademark role, is significant given this miscarriage crossover.

Missed Carriage

Though the film version elides this miscarriage subplot, it nevertheless shuttles between celebrating a promiscuous Holly and endeavoring to contain her sexuality within the domestic world at film's end. Like Hepburn's own early career, when she moved between Hollywood and a desire for domestic stability, the novel and film stumble between these two narratives. The film encases Holly and her neighbor within a heterosexual union, with her cat, a child surrogate, in arms. Set in a postwar context, the film scripts Holly's narrative in terms of her arriving at the inevitable nuclear family. The novel, however, even as it wishes to retrieve Holly, can only muse on her whereabouts. As the narrator confesses at the end:

I wanted to tell about her cat. I had kept my promise; I had found him. It took weeks of after-work roaming through those Spanish Harlem streets, and there were many false alarms--flashes of tiger-striped fur that, upon inspection, were not him. But one day, one cold sunshiny Sunday winter afternoon, it was. Flanked by potted plants and framed by clean lace curtains, he was seated in the window of a warm-looking room: I wondered what his name was, for I was certain he had one now, certain he'd arrived somewhere he belonged. African hut or whatever, I hope Holly has, too (111).

This ending resonates in a couple of ways. First, it can be read as the narrator's desire to locate and domesticate Holly, to find her alongside the cat in a Donna Reed-setting. Like all Cinderellas, she will be domesticated by the male gaze. And, yet, in the last instance Holly is still lost. The narrator's desire to locate her manifests his own desire to find a stable subject position, a place to call home. He wants her to "bear" or give birth to a stable subjectivity. Barely making a living as a writer, suppressing his homoerotic impulses, the narrator moves from apartment to apartment, job to job. If Holly represents the desirable elements of itinerancy, he reminds us of its costs: low pay, loneliness, lack of stability, sexual subterfuge. Holly moves with ease, as her name "Golightly" suggests. On the other hand, he stumbles alone, outside subjectivity, without a name. Holly then becomes a projection of his (and Capote's) desire for a viable subaltern fifties culture.

To bring us back to Cinderella, tapped by the fairy godmother's wand, the pumpkin, transformed into a magical carriage, alludes to the physical transformation of Cinderella from lowly servant to golden princess, from unwed woman to bride. This hollow pumpkin, left only with the rind, is a womb metaphor, penetrated by the godmother's spell, delivering the girl from "labor" to "ball." This pumpkin's transformation equates Cinderella's movement with reproduction: the procreative act of filling the rind with the stuff of magic. Cinderella's own transformation then is from hollow girl to fertile woman, ready to bear the prince’s child. Her golden appearance at the end of the tale is an allusion to her ability to re-“generate” the monarchy (she becomes a gold standard), acting as the carriage for the king's lineage. The transformation of the Holly of the novel to the Holly of the film version resembles the transformation of Cinderella herself into a domesticated princess. The film is a miscarriage of the original novel. It transforms the lost Cinderella into a proper Cinderella, saved by her prince-neighbor. In his fascinating discussion of the film’s production history, Peter Kramer notes that the script went through various stages in order eliminate “the dual threat of a controversial sexually liberated heroine and an effeminate hero” (62). Eventually, the film constructs a strong, understanding and loving man, the right man to redeem the good girl. In the end, “Capote’s character sketch had been turned into a proper Hollywood story, and the questionable characters of Holly and Paul were redeemed by love (62). The film, as carriage, conveys the solo Holly to a man at the end. Holly then "bears" some of the tensions surrounding postwar feminine conversions; she conveys and is conveyed in the narrative.


Circulating around the transformation of the body-as-commodity, central to the workings of the stardom phenomenon, the Cinderella story offers the glass slipper as the narrative equivalent of an actress slipping on a role. If the shoe fits, then the girl is "right" as princess. In the early Brothers Grimm version, the stepsisters, whose feet are too big, cut off their toes and heels in order to fit into the glass slipper. As their mother informs one, "Cut your toe off. Once you're queen you won't have to walk any more" (Grimm 494). The other sister cuts "off a chunk of her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, gritted her teeth against the pain" only to have the prince spot the blood "spurting from her shoe and staining her white stocking all red" (Grimm 495). The stepsisters' painful attempts to seamlessly fit on a version of femininity reminds us of the physical and figurative violence surrounding Hollywood's visible/invisible style. What is the painful underside to Hollywood's larger Cinderella story? How is a classic Hollywood film cut? How must the star transform herself -- dye her hair, surgically alter ("cut off”) her nose, work with voice coaches to strip away the tell-tale southern accent? Does Hollywood, as a product of capitalism, ever desire a stasis and never have to "walk any more"?

The Cinderella story tells us no; it centers around movement and transformation. Hollywood has to continually transform itself even if it retains the same "tendencies." Cinderella transforms herself even though she only moves from one domestic space to another. She circulates from ball to ball, the slipper from foot to foot. And, most importantly, Cinderella has to be transformed She, like Holly Golightly, travels through the text, shuttling in and out of contradictory spaces (from ashes to ball). Cinderellas, especially Hollywood's versions, keep moving and transforming themselves--a reminder that the fifties most famous Cinderella figure, Audrey Hepburn, could not stay an ingénue forever. In her last film, ironically titled Always, Hepburn played an angel, a "fairy godmother."' "One" glass slipper then can never fit "always." The Hollywood Cinderella tale is then also the stepsister's story--the story of painful transformation, rejection, no longer being the right fit, and obsolescence.


The culture-as-economic and economics-as-culture becomes the subject of the postwar Cinderella film that finds a young girl/country made over by American capital (Smith 44). The Cinderella story, therefore, informs not only the narrative content of Hollywood cinema but also Hollywood's international role in transforming differing economies. And perhaps even more to the point, the story dramatizes the very workings of the star system. The Cinderella story offers the glass slipper as hope of matching star with story, but what happens when the slipper doesn't fit?

Hollywood's studio system cast itself as the magic wand, producing its own Cinderella commodities. In order to secure its commodities, Hollywood must constantly remobilize the star's persona in response to market demands. Yet, like all commodities driven by the market's fetishizing and erratic forces, the Hollywood product is unpredictable. How to forecast the aura that would attach itself to Garbo's and Hepburn's faces? How to construct a star like "Ava Gardner" out of a tenant farmer's daughter? How to fasten on the glass slipper or maintain the aura? Holly Golightly has a similar star quality that transports the imagination. As one character describes Holly's function within his and the novel's fantasy: “You keep [her] a stranger, a stranger who's a friend" (10). Holly appears in Capote's novel as an African fetish, leading her spectators into "dreams," illustrating Hollywood's (the Dream Factory's) vexed relationship to stardom. Simultaneously charismatic and untenable, stranger and friend, she represents a celebrity built on ambiguity and fantasy. This is ultimately the logic of the fetish: to simultaneously offer and withhold desire, to replace desire with the longing for desire. The narrator's fascination with Holly then reiterates the Hollywood spectator's relationship to the filmic object of desire--that which is simultaneously tenable and untenable, "real" and "magical."


Works Cited


Bibler, Michael P. “Making a Real Phony: Truman Capote’s Queerly Southern Regionalism in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Novel and Three Stories.Just Below South: Intercultural Performance in the Caribbean and the U.S. South. Ed. Jessica Adams and Michael P. Bibler. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2007.

Capote, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Other Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1986.

Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. New York: Basic Books, 1992.

Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York: Zone Books, 1995.

Fishman, Robert. Bourgeois Utopias. New York: Basic Books, 1987.

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. “Ashputtle.” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, 6th ed. Ed. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. New York: Longman, 1997.

Hassan, Ihab. Radical Innocence: Studies in the Contemporary American Novel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Keogh, Pamela Clark. AudreyStyle. New York: Harper Collins, 1999.

Kramer, Peter. “The Many Faces of Holly Golightly: Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Hollywood.” Film Studies (Winter 2004, number 5) pp. 58-65.

Leigh, Carol. “Thanks, Ma.” Uncontrollable Bodies. Ed. Rodney Sappington and Tyler Stallings. Seattle: Bay Press, 1994.

May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1998.

Patterson, James. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945-1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Perrault, Charles. “Cinderella.” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. Ed. Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen. New York: Longman, 1997.

Ray, Robert. The Avant-Garde Finds Andy Hardy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Seigel, Jerrod. Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

Smith, Dina. "Global Cinderella: Sabrina (1954), Hollywood, and Postwar Internationalism". Cinema Journal 41, No. 2, Summer 2002.

Studlar, Gaylyn. “Chi-Chi Cinderella: Audrey Hepburn as Couture Countermodel.” Hollywood Goes Shopping. Ed. David Desser and Garth S. Jowett. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.



*The references to Capote’s biography are culled from Gerald Clarke’s excellent biography on the author (see bibliography).


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