It is curious that as children, humans have the ability to observe and rememberdetails of specific situations and instances yet lack the ability to describethem. Truman Capote, as a grown man, took advantage of his vivid memories andcomposed the short work, A Christmas Memory. The story begins in lateNovember, a month symbolic of all the years gone by that Capote could rememberbeginning preparations for Christmas fruitcakes.
The year he has chosen, though,is that of the last Christmas three friends spend together. A boy of seven,Capote has but two friends: his sixty-something year old distant cousinand a loyal, happy pooch named Buddy. Although the age difference between thecousins is great, it is clear that the two are almost on the same level ofintelligence. His old cousin is not ignorant or innocent by choice, rather,because of her frail condition she has been brushed off by adults and has neveroutgrown her childish ways. As the narrator, Capote recounts memories of goodtimes; the times before his family members decided that home was not where hebelonged. Overall, the story is bittersweet because there is joy to be found inthe simplicity of the three friends happiness.
However, after this specificChristmas, Capote is forced to move out of his house and to leave his innocencebehind. The story is not purely self-serving because Capote uses this piece notonly to revisit his memories of happier times, but to also evoke the memories ofthe readers. The theme of a loss of childhood innocence is one that many peoplecan relate to, as well. However, Capote composed this piece using the observanteye of a youth juxtaposed against wisdom only gained with age. An uncommon usageof colons is employed throughout his work to present different areas of text.
Although mostly used for introducing lists or great excerpts of quotes, Capoteuses colons for lists as well as for dividing lines of text to break themonotony. Even more so, they are used as directions for the reader to understandpeoples movements and the exact details of the story. For instance, at onepoint Capote writes: Enter: two relatives. Very angry. It is as if thestory is a play and he is the director telling the reader how to interpret thescenes. Capotes description of things is also different from the typicalpersons description. For example, to the laymen, the sun is a big, bright,shiny ball of fire. To Capote, the sun rises round as orange and orange ashot weather moons, balancing on the horizon, burnishing the silvered winterwoods.
His word choice elicits more than just a visual sense of what he isdescribing; they entice all the senses to jump into his memory. It isdistressing that the friends lack any real interaction with the others in thehousehold other than to be scolded. The reader feels as if perhaps the neglectedones should be pitied. Yet, it is comforting that they find consolation in eachother and can appreciate each moment for its beauty. In the end, Capote recallshis friend looking upon the land in front of them and back over time andunderstanding, in a very mature manner, the profoundness of the world.
With afew words, an elderly lady who has not ventured outside her hometown reveals asecret of life few ever realize. The kites that they give each other each yearrepresent a life of simple pleasures, when things were easier in Capotesworld. This is why, in the end, Capote walks across the campus of his schoolremembering days gone by, longing for the past, and searching for, again, thesimpler things in life and the meaning in a life void of happiness.English Essays