Archive for the “Golightly or Go Home” (Week Nine) Category

Golightly, or Go Home?

Posted in "Golightly or Go Home" (Week Nine) on June 9, 2011 by John R. Kitch

In the climatic scene from "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Holly Golightly" (Audrey Hepburn, right) stands in the rain with "Paul Varjak" (George Peppard, left) as she makes her decision.

Is there such a thing as being too tame? Is there such a thing of not being tame enough?

Every college student is familiar with the two basic types. There is the shut-in recluse who rarely goes about the town, keeps to themselves and their studies, and gets by with a meager existence, and then there is the out-going, care-free party animal who is on the scene (or making it) and living it up on a nightly basis as if the sun will not rise the next morning. All of us know them, in general and personal terms, and we are very aware as to which category we fit in ourselves. The two kinds of people are admired for their respected traits, the quiet ones can be quite practical and resourceful, while the rowdy bunch are fun and make anyone feel good about being alive. Of course, that is assuming what is stereotypical, or playing by what is expected.

Holly Golightly is a young woman who all men go crazy for. She talks well, walks with the ideal bounce, kills it in a little black Gevinchy dress, and knows how to bat well made-up eye lashes. If one is looking for socializing, dancing, or drinking, they just need to visit Holly’s apartment. As protagonist of Edward Blake’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (loosely based off of the novella by Truman Capote) Holly (big screen darling Audrey Hepburn) lives a life of luxury bought for her by the rich and powerful men that fall for her charms. Her days are spent sleeping, walking about in the best designer’s dresses, drinking, and staring at the dazzling sight of the diamonds in the window at Tiffany & Co. One night, a new neighbor comes to her door, asking her if he may use the phone. Enter Paul Varjak (George Peppard), a writer who can not help but fall in love with Holly, despite the fact that he knows what kind of woman she is. Holly is, more or less, a party girl who must be taken care of by others, and Paul understands that a struggling writer can not even begin to pay for the debts of Miss Golightly. As a relationship forms between Holly and Paul, Holly’s self-proclaimed status as a free spirit begins to be challenged. She starts to realize that  independence comes with the price of being available to and naive to the intentions of those who grant such a terrific freedom.

It is very easy for anyone to get stuck in a routine. Just as Holly Golightly became used to (and then dependant upon) the reputation she had formed for herself, we tend to fall into a type-based life. It’s good to be a type… sometimes, but that ideology limits what we can accomplish. For Holly, she risks passing up true love if she fails  to drop her charade as a call girl, but in turn also risks loosing a secure life (all be it a rather accomplishment-lacking and monotonous one). If we always remain just the recluse, we will never get to know anybody. If we keep being the party animal, we may become detached from what is personal. It is sometimes necessary to be one, and then the other, but it is almost always necessary, it seems, to be somewhere in between.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and all images from it are property of  Paramount Pictures.

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