How does the setting of Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory contribute to the story and affect the reader?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Capote's story is more or less autobiographical, which is reflected in the setting (time and place) of the story, the 1930's rural South, a region suffering from a fair amount of poverty even before the onset of the nation's Great Depression.  The main character is a litte boy who lives with aging relatives, as Capote had; his best friend is an elderly cousin who lives in the household, and every year about November, they gather pecans, save their pennies, and make fruitcakes for their "friends", who are actually people they barely know.  On the surface, this is a nostalgic story of a lovely holiday tradition, but looking a bit deeper reveals a certain sadness, which is strongly related to the rural setting during the Depression, the family's poverty, and the loneliness of a little boy and an old lady who have nothing but each other, "a lost pair of kites" in the words of the narrator. 

Other Southern writers who have set their work in the South of the 1930's include Capote's childhood friend, Harper Lee, in her largely autobiographical masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird, William Faulkner with Light in August and Mildred Taylor with her young adult novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


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