Literature Study GuidesBreakfast At TiffanysSection 8 A Trip To The Library Summary

Breakfast at Tiffany's | Study Guide

Truman Capote

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Breakfast at Tiffany's | Section 8 (A Trip to the Library) | Summary



When the narrator gets a job at the end of October 1943, he and Holly Golightly begin keeping different hours. He sees her on Thursdays, when she's getting ready to go to Sing-Sing and visit Sally Tomato, or when she's heading out with Rusty Trawler, Mag Wildwood, and Mag's Brazilian fiancé, José Ybarra-Jaegar, who looks "as out of place in their company as a violin in a jazz band." One day, while waiting for the bus, the narrator spots Holly running into the 42nd Street public library. Following at a discrete distance, he sees her studying books about Brazil.

Holly and Mag host a party on Christmas Eve. The narrator goes early to help them decorate the mammoth tree. Holly gives him the antique birdcage, which, at $350, the narrator thinks is far too generous. Holly only shrugs. "A few extra trips to the powder room," she says. She makes him promise he'll "never put a living thing in it." She opens his gift to her, a St. Christopher's medal from Tiffany's.


St. Christopher is considered by Catholics to be the patron saint of travelers. Wearing a medal with an engraving of his image supposedly blesses and protects anyone traveling away from home. The narrator's gift of the medal to Holly Golightly is partly tongue-in-cheek and partly serious. He's poking fun at her "Holly Golightly: Traveling" calling cards, but he is aware also she never stays in one place very long. The narrator knows she's studying Brazil for a reason—she intends to take José Ybarra-Jaegar for herself, marry him, and move to South America. Instead of confronting Holly and talking her out of it, he gives her a good luck charm for protection.

The ornate cage Holly gives to the narrator is even more significant. She abhors cages of all kinds and can't stand to see any living creature kept against its will—yet she knows how much this particular cage means to the narrator. She saves up for this gift so she can make the narrator happy. Holly is an intensely loyal and devoted friend, and her gift of the cage suggests that even though the security of confinement isn't for her, she supports the narrator in his quest for it, even if she may feel he, too, would be better off outside of any cage, or in his case, closet.

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