In "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, why does Buddy's friend remain unnamed?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Truman Capote’s short story “A Christmas Memory” Buddy’s cousin/friend remains unnamed. This allows for Buddy to keep his memory of her personal and close to his heart. Her name is not necessary, her relationship with Buddy is. He gives a thorough description of her age, looks, and personality traits. She is in her sixties, does not care much about her appearance, is deeply religious, brave, and child-like. She does not need a name; her image makes her more relatable yet allows Buddy to keep her for himself. She is an enigma and a symbol of his childhood. It also provides a bit of mystery to the reader as to whom the woman is. The other adults in the story also remain unnamed but they are described as being uncaring and obtrusive.

Truman Capote did reveal that he based the cousin’s character on Miss Sook Faulk, one of his mother’s distant relatives with whom he spent some of his early years. Perhaps when the story was written, Capote tried to save her identity only revealing it later. Miss Faulk shared attributes with the character in the story. His mother left him in the care of relatives during some tumultuous years for the family.

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A Christmas Memory

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