Breakfast at Tiffany's: Pages 16-18

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Summary, pages 16-18

The narration now flashes back to 1943, and the narrator’s first encounter with Holly. The first time he hears her voice is well past midnight, when he is woken up to hear an annoyed Mr. Yunioshi complaining about the fact that she has rung his doorbell. She apologizes, saying she has lost her key to the building (and so she needs to contact one of the residents so he can push a buzzer that opens the downstairs door). The narrator catches sight of her as she ascends the stairs. He thinks she may be any age between sixteen and thirty; it later turns out that she is two months short of her nineteenth birthday. She is followed up the stairs by a short, overweight man who has escorted her home. She refuses to allow him inside her apartment. The man, whose name is Sid Arbuck, is annoyed, and protests that he paid for her dinner and those of five of her friends, whom he had never met before.
 
Analysis
This is the reader’s first sight of Holly. The card that fits into her mailbox, that says “Miss Holiday Golightly, Travelling,” provides an appropriate mental image: this lady is always on the move. She has no fixed abode. Her name also suggests her nature: she is not serious, she regards the world with a certain innocence, as a place for holiday not work, and that she moves around with ease wherever she wants to go. Her persistent ringing of her neighbor’s bell at all hours of the night suggests a narcissistic nature; she really has no thought about how her behavior is going to affect others, although once again there is an innocent charm about her that makes people more willing to overlook her character flaws. The way she deals with Mr. Yunioshi and Sid Arbuck reveals that she knows exactly how to deal handle men, and she is always in charge. She also reveals that she is not above accepting monetary favors from men.
 

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