Literature Study GuidesBreakfast At TiffanysSection 16 Hollys Friends Try To Help Summary

Breakfast at Tiffany's | Study Guide

Truman Capote

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Breakfast at Tiffany's | Section 16 (Holly's Friends Try to Help) | Summary



When Holly Golightly is arrested, the narrator first thinks Madame Sapphia Spanella is just trying to rid of her. He doesn't realize she was arrested because of her relationship with Sally Tomato until Joe Bell shows up at the narrator's apartment with the latest newspapers. Joe is furious, and he's even angrier that the narrator isn't upset. The narrator knows Holly is guilty, so, to him, there's nothing to be mad about. Nevertheless, Joe talks him into going to the bar to start making phone calls. "Our girl's going to need fancier shysters than I can afford," he says.

The narrator isn't sure whom to call—Holly doesn't seem to have many friends. He finally decides on O.J. Berman, who is in Beverly Hills. Berman isn't in, so the narrator then calls Rusty Trawler. After some pleading, Mag Wildwood comes to the phone. She and Rusty intend to sue anyone who tries to connect their names "with that ro-ro-rovolting and de-de-degenerate girl." The narrator thinks about calling Doc, then reconsiders—Holly would kill him for asking Doc to rescue her. He finally gets Berman on the line. Berman says he already has a New York lawyer on the case, and he wouldn't be surprised if she was out of jail and back home already.


Holly Golightly's only real friends are the narrator, Joe Bell, and O.J. Berman. It is notable they are all men—Holly doesn't appear to have any close relationships with women. She can't charm them out of their money the way she does with men, and some—like Mag Wildwood—might find her personality too flamboyant for close companionship. The three men who come to Holly's aid all adore her, but their feelings aren't romantic in nature. The narrator loves Holly as if he were her brother or her uncle. They have a genuine friendship and he feels protective toward her, but not protective enough to prevent her from making her own decisions. Joe Bell has a paternal affection for Holly. He is so worried about her that he leaves the bar to track down the narrator, then drags him back so they can make things right. The narrator wouldn't have contacted O.J. Berman and the Trawlers without Joe's insistence—he probably wouldn't have even seen the newspapers until the next day.

Berman's relationship with Holly is a little different. He protects her as if she were a big investment—which she once was—and also as if he owes her something, which he mentions in his brief phone conversation with the narrator. That's why he still shows up at her parties and offers to help her friends break into the entertainment business. Helping Holly out of her current mess would mean they're even and he can walk away with a clean conscience. Yet there's something about Holly that keeps Berman coming back. Everyone else knows the polished, party-girl Holly, but Berman met her when she supposedly still had her hillbilly accent and inch-thick glasses. He is one of the few people in her current life who knows her background and who she truly is. He sticks around because he cares for that version of Holly, not the phony version everyone else sees.

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