In "Christmas Memory", the relatives send Buddy off to a military school. How does this complicate the plot?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Christmas Memory," a story is told of a boy (Buddy) and his [elderly] cousin, and a memory of Christmas celebrations, which though a long tradition with them, will be their last Christmas together.

Each year, Buddy and the woman eagerly look forward to "fruitcake weather," as this announces the imminent arrival of the holidays.  They spend a great deal of time preparing to make fruitcakes, a total of thirty-one, which they give to people who have been kind to them over the past year, some total strangers.

There is a wonderful yet sad and nostalgic tone created by Capote (the author), as he relates that these two not only share in this experience, but help each other to survive living among people who 'can make them cry.'  They are best friends.

However, after this particular Christmas passes, everything changes.  Buddy is sent away to military school, and summer camps, so that he does not again get to see his elderly cousin.  This, of course, stops their yearly Christmas tradition. They keep in touch with each other for a while, but ultimately, Buddy's elderly cousin is unable, mentally and physically, to keep us with the making of fruitcakes.  Eventually, knowing before he is told, he receives a message that his cousin has died.

These two lonely souls, Buddy and his cousin, had found refuge and joy in each other's company, and the reader can sense his sadness and a child's sense of loss in her passing.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Memory

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