In "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, what does the reader know about Buddy? What is his relationship to the old woman he calls "my friend"?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the short story "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, there are two characters named Buddy. One is the seven-year-old narrator of the story who is a distant cousin of and best friends with the sixty-something woman he lives with. The woman is unnamed but is referred to as Sook in later editions of this story. The other Buddy was formerly the older cousin's best friend and died in the 1880s, when Sook was a girl. Buddy seems not to have any parents, and he lives with his cousin and other relatives. They live with Queenie, "our tough little orange and white rat terrier." This story has autobiographical elements, as Truman Capote grew up in the south and lived with relatives, including his older female cousin, Sook Faulk.

The older cousin and Buddy are very poor, and the cousin is childlike in her simplicity and demeanor. They spend the weeks leading up to Christmas making fruitcakes for friends, acquaintances such as the man who drives the bus from Mobile, and public figures such as President Franklin Roosevelt. They also make kites for each other for Christmas, and Buddy becomes drunk on the whiskey that remains from making the fruitcakes. Buddy is then sent away to military school, and though he writes to his cousin, she eventually becomes ill and suffers from dementia, so that she can no longer make fruitcakes in November. When Buddy hears that his cousin has died, he looks into the sky and thinks he might see "a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven."

mkcapen1 | Student

In "A Christmas Memory"  Buddy and Miss Sooks are cousins.  She is in her sixties, and he is seven.  Buddy is actually Truman Capote when he was a child.  Buddy lived with several relatives due to his parent's divorce.  He has lived with Miss Sooks and other elderly relatives in the house for a long time.

Buddy and Miss Sooks are best friends.  They laugh together and sometimes they cry together.  Miss Sooks starts every Christmas season off by telling Buddy that it is fruitcake weather.  Together the two of them gather pecans and shell them.  They go out and cut a Christmas tree.  Miss Sooks and Buddy make and distribute the fruit cakes around the neighborhood. 

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A Christmas Memory

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