What does the description of the hiding place for the Fruitcake Fund tell you about Buddy and his friend in "A Christmas Memory"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The hiding place of an old bead purse placed under a loose board under the floor over which a chamber pot sits beneath Buddy's friend's bed suggests that the two friends hide things much in the manner of Tom Sawyer, and like Tom, they weave an adventuresome and ritualized tale around what they do. 

With dramatic detail, Capote writes that the ancient purse is rarely removed from its hiding spot except for important deposits. However, on Saturdays, there is the withdrawal of ten cents for the picture show admission for Buddy. In this description and in others, Capote develops the motif of ritual as "every Saturday" the dime is taken and Buddy goes to the movies. Then, there is a litany of things which the friend has never done, such as

gone to the picture show, eaten in a restaurant, received or sent a telegram, traveled more than five miles from home, read anything except funny papers and the Bible, worn cosmetics, cursed, wished someone harm, told a lie on purpose, let a hungry dog go hungry.

Later, Buddy and his friend retire to her room and in "conspiracy" they remove the bead purse from its hiding place and wrap their money in a scrap of material so that they can purchase whiskey from Mr. Haha Jones that will go into the fruitcake. 

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Buddy and his friend hide the money in their Fruitcake Fund in an old bead purse "under a chamber pot under my friend's bed." The description of the hiding place tells the reader that Buddy's relatives do not support his making of the fruitcakes. When two unnamed relatives enter the kitchen after Buddy and his friend have made their fruitcakes the relatives are very angry. They scold his friend for allowing Buddy, then seven, to drink a small amount of whiskey and they claim that Buddy and his friend are heading down the "road to ruination" trod by many of their other relatives. Buddy and his friend clearly have no power in the household, and their relatives do not respect his friend. Soon afterward, Buddy is sent to a military school and he is separated from his friend forever. 

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A Christmas Memory

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