How does Capote feel about the other members of the household?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this short memoir piece, Truman Capote recalls his relationship with his elderly cousin with whom he lived as a child. Capote's mother committed suicide when he was young, and he was sent to live with relatives. He is closest to his cousin he describes in the story as his "friend" (in reality she was an aunt). He says the two of them were somewhat apart from the rest of the household: 

Other people inhabit the house, relatives; and though they have power over us, and frequently make us cry, we are not, on the whole, too much aware of them. We are each other's best friend.

There is an antagonistic and adversarial tone to this description. The "relatives" are not described as individuals, or named; they are seen as a group apart from Buddy and his friend. The relatives are also a source of stress and fear: they have "power" over Buddy and his friend, and "frequently" make them cry. But Buddy's close friendship with his cousin and the camaraderie they share helps to bolster them from the unpleasantness that comes from dealing with the other relatives.

We see an example of this after Buddy and his cousin enjoy a small amount of whiskey after they finish baking their fruitcakes. They are discovered giggling and a bit tipsy by the relatives:

Enter: two relatives. Very angry. Potent with eyes that scold, tongues that scald. Listen to what they have to say, the words tumbling together into a wrathful tune: "A child of seven! whiskey on his breath! are you out of your mind? feeding a child of seven! must be loony! road to ruination! remember Cousin Kate? Uncle Charlie? Uncle Charlie's brother-inlaw? shame! scandal! humiliation! kneel, pray, beg the Lord!"

We see here also that the attitudes about God and religion are quite different from those expressed by Buddy or his friend, who later says she understands that God is not to be found in the afterlife but in the blessings, beauty and small pleasures of everyday living.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial