illustration of two red kites hanging upon a Christmas tree

A Christmas Memory

by Truman Capote
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In "A Christmas Memory," what does the phrase "rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying towards heaven" communicate about Capote's feelings toward his friend?

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This last line of the story communicates how close Buddy feels to Sook. When he hears of her death, he says it is as if some irreplaceable part of himself had died.

Sook made Buddy kites for Christmas every year, and he also made her kites. One of the happiest days in his memory is a day they flew their kites together after Christmas. Buddy describes that sunny day, in which he and Sook sprawled and watched their kites "cavort." Buddy says he is as happy that day as if they had won the Grand Prize in their coffee-naming contest.

Sook is also very happy, and says,

As for me, I could leave the world [die] with today in my eyes.

When Sook dies, Buddy searches the sky, half expecting to find two kites heading together to heaven. In doing so, he is thinking of the happy day they spent flying kites and about the bond he and Sook share. He feels as he looks at the sky that she is taking a part of him to heaven with her. He knows she can never be replaced.

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Truman Capote describes his raw emotions at the end of his short story “A Christmas Memory.” He writes, “As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.” At this point in the story, Buddy is away at military school when his friend dies.

Earlier in the story, Capote describes how the pair escapes the frustration of Christmas morning by flying their homemade kites in a nearby pasture. It is one of those times that Buddy treasures, and holds dear in his heart. They are a pair of lost souls who find comfort in simply spending time together.

The pair shared such a deep connection that Buddy feels her passing even before he receives a message confirming it. With his friend’s passing, Buddy is broken-hearted. He feels that a part of him is taken, “letting it loose like a kite on a broken string.” As he walks across the campus, he looks heavenward and imagines that he might see the two kites that are symbolic of their relationship ascending heavenward.

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