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Breakfast at Tiffany's | Symbols


Calling Cards

Popular from the 17th through early 20th centuries, calling cards were used primarily by women to introduce themselves or to leave word that they had visited when the recipient wasn't home. Early calling cards were often ornately decorated with designs, symbols, and tactile flourishes such as fringe and fabric that represented the bearer's personality. By the early 1940s, cards were more modern in design and strongly resembled the business cards of today. Yet they still said a lot about the card's owner. Holly Golightly's calling cards, which read "Holly Golightly, Traveling," are sleek and sophisticated, bearing only a "Cartier-formal" script. They are the cards of a woman with refined, elegant taste, which is how Holly wishes to present herself.

The narrator initially finds "Traveling" to be a curious inclusion on the cards, and Holly herself seems embarrassed to have chosen that particular word. Yet "Traveling" is an apt descriptor of Holly. She never stays in one place too long—Doc's house for a year, California for a year—and she plans on leaving New York as soon as possible. Her search for a "place where [she] and things belong together" is never-ending. Not satisfied with her lot in life, she is likely destined to be traveling for a long time to come.


Founded in 1837 in New York City, Tiffany & Co. is an upscale chain of jewelry stores known for diamonds, sterling silver, and its iconic light blue box. As a brand, it represents style, sophistication, and wealth, but the flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue means something different to Holly Golightly. She goes there when she's feeling scared or worried for no reason, a mood she calls "the mean reds." The cool, quiet interior calms her immediately. She feels safe and protected among "that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets." For Holly, Tiffany's is a symbol of the stable, uncomplicated life she craves but has yet to establish for herself. As she puts it, "Nothing very bad could happen to you there."

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