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Course Hero. "Breakfast at Tiffany's Study Guide." June 29, 2017. Accessed November 21, 2018.


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Breakfast at Tiffany's | Quotes


You can love somebody without it being like that.

Joe Bell, Section 1 (A Visit With Joe Bell)

Joe Bell loves Holly Golightly, but not in a romantic way. His insistence that he never wanted to touch her indicates paternal and platonic feelings for her. Some literary critics have interpreted this to also mean Joe is gay.


You'll read where she ends up at the bottom of a bottle of Seconals.

O.J. Berman, Section 4 (Holly Throws a Party)

O.J. Berman cares for Holly Golightly, but he doesn't have high hopes for her future. He thinks she's like all the other phony society girls who eventually succumb to the pressure of maintaining their perfect facades. He thinks her story will end in suicide.


I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name.

Holly Golightly, Section 4 (Holly Throws a Party)

Holly Golightly is on a perpetual search for a place that feels like home, and the closest she's found is Tiffany's, the famed jewelry store. If her life was as efficiently run as Tiffany's, she could finally abandon her transient lifestyle and settle down.


He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out.

Holly Golightly, Section 5 (Mag Moves In)

The narrator overhears a conversation between Holly Golightly and Mag Wildwood. Mag thinks the narrator "look[s] stupid," and Holly defends him. His only problem, she says, is that he's an outsider trying to determine his place in the world. It's what makes him a good writer, but it's also a source of vulnerability. Holly understands this because she feels the same way herself. She may look the part of a New York socialite, but she still feels like she is a lost girl from the country.


Leave it to me: I'm always top banana in the shock department.

Holly Golightly, Section 9 (The Falling Out)

Holly Golightly has built her reputation on saying (and sometimes doing) outrageous things. It's how she gets attention and how she gets what she wants. Mag Wildwood doesn't question Holly's assertion she's a lesbian because Holly is known for her crazy surprises.


I'm still stealing turkey eggs and running through a brier patch.

Holly Golightly, Section 11 (Holly Stays in New York)

Holly Golightly explains to Doc she won't go back to Texas because she's not the same person she was when she ran away from his farm. Only afterward does she realize she will always be a scared young girl on the inside, no matter how much she tries to convince herself she's changed.


Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell.

Holly Golightly, Section 11 (Holly Stays in New York)

Holly Golightly is drunk when she says this to Joe Bell, but she's also serious. She believes Doc's fatal flaw is his instinct to giving his heart to wild, injured creatures, herself included. He rehabilitates them with love and care, only to have his heart broken when they grow strong enough to leave. Holly believes wild animals are meant to be free, so there's no use loving them in the first place.


That category of love generates jealousy, too.

Narrator, Section 12 (Holly Gets Bad News)

The narrator is jealous when he thinks Holly Golightly has married Rusty Trawler. He's in love with her, but he's quick to explain it's not romantic love—it's an all-consuming platonic love, like the love he felt for his mother's former cook, the postman, and a family he knew as a child. The childlike crush he has on Holly doesn't prevent him from feeling jealousy when she bestows attention on other people. Instead, it appears to exacerbate it. He doesn't want to share her affection.


A girl doesn't read this sort of thing without her lipstick.

Holly Golightly, Section 18 (Visiting Hours at the Hospital)

Holly Golightly prepares herself to read José Ybarra-Jaegar's breakup letter by applying cosmetics. Wearing her "public face" makes her feel more confident and stronger, as if she's wearing an iron mask.


Certain shades of limelight wreck a girl's complexion.

Holly Golightly, Section 18 (Visiting Hours at the Hospital)

Holly Golightly knows even if she's found innocent of any wrongdoing in relation to Sally Tomato, she won't be able to resume her high-society lifestyle. She will be more famous than ever, but not for the right reasons. Her current circle of friends won't want anything to do with her, which would effectively end her means of income. Guilty or not, her reputation in New York has been ruined.


Once I walked from New Orleans to Nancy's Landing, Mississippi, just under 500 miles.

Narrator, Section 19 (Holly Skips Town)

This may seem like an unimportant aside, but it actually tells the reader a lot about the narrator. Nancy's Landing isn't a real place—Truman Capote made it up. The word "Nancy" is a slang term referring to a man with effeminate qualities and is usually used in relation to homosexuals. Some literary critics believe Capote envisioned Nancy's Landing as a sort of gay resort. The narrator wants to get there so badly that he walks the entire way, which would confirm the theory that he is gay.


Oh, Jesus God. We did belong to each other. He was mine.

Holly Golightly, Section 19 (Holly Skips Town)

Holly Golightly always insists she and her cat are nothing to one another—they are simply passing their time together until their real homes come along. Only after she releases him into the streets of Spanish Harlem does she realize the cat is the only constant source of affection in her life. Like her brother, Fred, the cat was her "home," and she has abandoned him.


I wondered what his name was, for I was certain he had one now.

Narrator, Section 20 (Holly's Last Letter)

After weeks of searching, the narrator finally finds Holly Golightly's cat in the window of a home in Spanish Harlem. He looks happy and well-cared for, and the narrator instinctively knows the homeowners have given the cat a name and a safe place to live. He hopes Holly can find a similar place—one where she feels she belongs.

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