In "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote, what are examples of personification, simile, imagery, sensory imagery, and symbolism?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," an autobiographical account of an experience from the past, focuses on his fond memories of Christmases with a rather eccentric relative. With "his friend," an elderly cousin named Sook Faulk, Truman made fruitcakes for people who had been charitable to them throughout the year.

Capote, called Buddy by his cousin, announces that it is time to make the cakes one day and they take a dilapidated baby carriage into a grove of pecan trees. In this scene, there is much imagery:

  • the buggy is made of wicker that is now unraveling.
  • the wheels on this buggy wobble.
  • the buggy is loaded with "flowers, herbs, wild fern...sugar-cane fishing poles" and a "heaping" load of "windfall pecans."¬†
  • There is sensory imagery as after his cousin and Buddy return, they hear "Caarackle!...scraps of miniature thunder sound as the shells collapse and the golden mound of sweet oily ivory meat mounts..."
  • In his cousin's purse, there are fifty-cent pieces "heavy enough to weight a dead man's eyes."
  • When Buddy and his cousin go to HaHa's cafe there are "garish-gay naked light bulbs."
  • "The black stove...glows like a lighted pumpkin." Egg-beaters whirl...and "vanilla sweetens the air."
  • Buddy later describes his feelings as "warm and sparky as those crumblings legs."
  • The friends' trip to the woods for greenery is replete with imagery. There are "shrillings," "gaudy fungus and molted feathers"; there is a creek to cross with "speckled trout" and "frogs the size of plates."Sook lifts her head with its "hat of ragged roses."

Personification

After his relatives find whiskey on his breath, they scold his cousin and the dog hides under the stove as his friend runs to her room. "Long after the town has gone to sleep and the house is silent ...." (house and town are given the qualities of persons.)

Symbolism is found in the kites that Buddy and his cousin fly on their last Christmas together. Buddy reflects that they are "rather like hearts."

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