Breakfast at Tiffany's This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

New York City. It's been called the Big Apple and the City That Doesn't Sleep, among other things. Millions of people call it Home. Some claim that they would never want to live there, while others say that it's their goal in life to do just that. But no one denies that New York, New York isn't special. People all over the world think of it as a place where dreams can come true, more so than anywhere else... and the adventurous, the artistic, the ambitious will go at some point, seeking... something. Wealth. Fame. Happiness. Freedom. Above all, I think that New York draws those who have the desire to find their own identities, because New York is one of those places where a person goes to try new things and pursue their dreams, with the ultimate hope that they'll find themselves- and what they're meant for- along the way.

NYC is home to some very famous, unique characters, both fictional and non-fictional, past and present. They are the most diverse group of people you can find anywhere, in any realm of reality or imagination. This strange, unique city, which has become a legend all over the world, to the point where it seems to some like a Heaven on Earth, is where you can find the subject of "Breakfast at Tiffany’s": Holly Golightly.

The 1961 film, directed by Blake Edwards and based on the novella by Truman Capote, has had its critics. Upon the film's release, A.H. Weiler of the New York Times called the character Holly Golightly "implausable", while recent reviews of the film have attacked the performances of Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi, Holly’s neighbor, and George Peppard as her love interest Paul Varjak. However, most reviewers agree that Audrey Hepburn's performance as the "very lonely, very frightened", and of course, very chic, call-girl manages to carry the film. Most say it's because Hepburn was at the height of her career and brought the right combination of charm and eccentricity to her character. However, I think that the reason why, almost fifty years after its release, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" remains such a classic, can be found in the description of Golightly as a "real phony".

The "real phony" Holly had humble beginnings. Born Lula Mae Barnes, she married "Doc." Golightly at age 14, only to soon run off to New York City and change her first name to Holly. There she became a call-girl, trying to save money to buy her and her younger brother a life in Mexico. Somewhere along the way, she acquired a barely-furnished apartment, a nameless cat, and a habit of eating breakfast outside of the jewelry store Tiffany's. She made proclamations like "I'm like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us" and "The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of". All of this could come across as phoniness and eccentricity... after all, would anyone actually go to Tiffany's whenever they were afraid or sad? What real person has an unnamed pet cat? Who but a "phony" would change their name and run away from their very identity?

And here lies the truth: Holly Golightly is no more of a phony than most people, and in particular, than the stereotypical New Yorker. In his novella, Capote constructed a character who, if we don't misinterpret her, will make us question some things about society.
Have you, reading this, ever gone window shopping when you're feeling down, only to find that dreaming hasn't gotten you anywhere? Have you ever left or considered leaving your home, simply because you want to be someone else besides yourself? And as for the nameless cat... is it hard to believe that Holly simply thought that she didn't have the right to name the cat, because the cat wasn't really hers? After all, she had changed her own name... maybe she thought that names really don't mean anything at all.

Above all, Holly was drawn to New York as a place where she could live her life, be who she wanted to be, and maybe achieve her dreams. If that makes her a "real phony", then we are all phonies, for even today, that is why thousands pack their bags for the Big Apple... and that is why I believe that Holly Golightly has survived the test of time: she is the quintessential New Yorker.





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Lauren said...
May 7, 2010 at 9:38 am
good insights into this film! I liked it :)
 
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