Breakfast at Tiffany's: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. “This ought to be the place for a tough guy like you.”

    p. 98 Holly speaks to her cat as she pushes him out of the taxi in Spanish Harlem. She immediately regrets her decision and tries unsuccessfully to find him.

  2. “I can’t get excited by a man until he’s forty-two.”

    p. 23 Holly Golightly speaking to the narrator, explaining her taste in men. She further says that a female friend of her tells her she has a “father complex,” but Holly claims that she has simply trained herself to like older men, and she is happy with her decision.

  3. “She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap that she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.”

    p. 32 O. J. Berman, the Hollywood agent, explaining to the narrator his view of Holly. The quotation reveals his exasperation with Holly but also his affection for her.

  4. “In 1908 he’d lost both his parents, his father the victim of an anarchist and his mother of shock, which double misfortune had made Rusty an orphan, a millionaire, and a celebrity, all at the age of five.

    p. 39 Holly explains why she thought nothing of failing to show up for an audition for a role in a movie.

  5. “Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell.”

    p. 69 Holly speaks to Joe Bell, the bartender. Her husband Doc Golightly, used to try to befriend and tame wild creatures, but they would always escape. Holly sees herself as a wild thing, too, and Doc’s mistake was to think that she would be happy with the cozy domesticity he offered her.

  6. “I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.”

    p. 77 Holly speaks to the narrator, claiming that she is honest in the sense that she always tries to be true to herself. 

  7. “No fooling. The fat woman almost had me. She was yakking up a storm.”

    p. 89 Holly speaks to the narrator from her hospital bed. She has had a miscarriage. The “fat woman” refers to death. After Holly’s brother Fred died, Holly had a vision of him cradled in the arms of an ugly fat woman.

  8. “‘You know what’s going to happen to you?’ she said, with no hint of a stutter. ‘I’m going to march you over to the zoo and feed you to the yak.’”

    p.  45 Mag Wildwood speaking to Rusty Trawler at Holly’s party. She does not understand why people have suddenly stopped talking to her (Holly has spread a rumor that Mag has a social disease), and she becomes very aggressive, losing her habitual stutter.

  9. “I knew damn well I’d never be a movie star. It’s too hard; and if you’re intelligent, it’s too embarrassing. My complexes aren’t inferior enough: being a movie star and having a big fat ego are supposed to go hand-in-hand; actually, it’s essential not to have any ego at all.”

    p. 37The narrator supplies information about Rusty Trawler, the rich playboy who has had many wives, gets involved with Holly but eventually marries Mag Wildwood.

  10. “Men are beautiful, a lot of them are, José is, and if you don’t even want to look at him, well, I’d say he’s getting a pretty cold plate of macaroni.”

    p. 49 Holly speaks to Mag Wildwood about Mag’s apparent lack of passion for the man she is involved with.

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