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Truman Capote ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’

This entry is part 53 of 72 in the series C1/2 - ADVANCED+

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Truman Capote is recognised as one of the greatest American novelists, and ‘Breakfast at Tifany’s – later a film starring Audrey Hepburn – is, together with ‘In Cold Blood’, the author’s finest work.

Capote introduces a character – Holly Golightly – who answers all our stereotypes about a girl who survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the reader,  whose preconceived ideas are challenged as her deepening character emerges.

 

 

 

Listen to the opening four paragraphs, and answer the questions below – without reading the text below

TRUE, FALSE, DOESN’T SAY?

  1. The Narrator’s first apartment was lavishly furnished.
  2. The Narrator had started his career as a writer.
  3. Holly Golightly and the Narrator used to meet frequently in Joe Bell’s bar.
  4. The Narrator no longer lives in the same area.
  5. Joe Bell is not married.

NOW LISTEN AGAIN AND FILL IN THE GAPS. REMEMBER TO DOUBLE-CLICK ANY WORD YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND:

I am always (1)________ back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs (2)________ in that itchy, particular red velvet that one associates with hot days on a tram. The walls were stucco, and a color rather like tobacco-spit. Everywhere, in the bathroom too, there were prints of Roman ruins freckled brown with age. The single window looked out on a fire escape. Even so, my spirits (3)________ whenever I felt in my pocket the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it still was a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of pencils to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be.

It never occurred to me in those days to write about Holly Golightly, and probably it would not now except for a conversation I had with Joe Bell that set the (4)________ memory of her in motion again.

Holly Golightly had been a (5)________ in the old brownstone; she’d occupied the apartment below mine. As for Joe Bell, he ran a bar around the corner on Lexington Avenue; he still does. Both Holly and I used to go there six, seven times a day, not for a drink, not always, but to make telephone calls: during the war a private telephone was hard to come by. Moreover, Joe Bell was good about taking messages, which in Holly’s case was no small favor, for she had a tremendous many.

Of course this was a long time ago, and until last week I hadn’t seen Joe Bell in several years. Off and on we’d (6)________ in touch, and occasionally I’d stopped by his bar when passing through the neighborhood; but actually we’d never been strong friends except in as much as we were both friends of Holly Golightly. Joe Bell hasn’t an easy nature, he admits it himself, he says it’s because he’s a bachelor and has a (7)________ stomach. Anyone who knows him will tell you he’s a hard man to talk to. Impossible if you don’t share his fixations, of which Holly is one. Some others are: ice hockey, Weimaraner dogs, Our Gal Sunday (a soap serial he has listened to for fifteen years), and Gilbert and Sullivan — he (8)________ to be related to one or the other, I can’t remember which.

 

ANSWERS BELOW:

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ‘BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S’

AND CARRY ON LISTENING TO THE STORY……

 

  1. The Narrator’s first apartment was lavishly furnished. FALSE
  2. The Narrator had started his career as a writer. DOESN’T SAY
  3. Holly Golightly and the Narrator used to meet frequently in Joe Bell’s bar. DOESN’T SAY
  4. The Narrator no longer lives in the same area. TRUE
  5. Joe Bell is not married. TRUE
1. drawn  2. upholstered 3. heightened 4. whole 5. tenant 6. kept 7. sour 8. claims

 

 

 

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