What does Buddy's friend say "gets her goat?" What does this speech reveal about her character?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Buddy’s friend, who is also his distant cousin, demonstrates her selfless nature in Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory." I makes her angry when she cannot give Buddy a bicycle.

She would like to give me a bicycle (she's said so on several million occasions: "If only I could, Buddy. It's bad enough in life to do without something you want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want them to have.”

They are making Christmas gifts for the other family members, and each other when the cousin makes this statement. She is pained to give Buddy another handmade gift for Christmas when in her heart she would like to give him something more substantial, like a bike, even if it means depriving herself of something. She is unable to do this due to her circumstances, and even though she has a child-like intellect, she knows that it would be a wonderful feeling to give a much wanted gift to someone she holds dear. She tells Buddy that somehow she will get him that bike but between the two of them they do not have the means. It is obvious from the gifts they receive from the others that they are a poor family in economically trying times. Buddy receives hand-me-down items. In the end, the two friends exchange handmade kites and spend an enjoyable afternoon flying them in the pasture. As Buddy ages, he realizes that those kites, made from the heart, and the time spent together, are much more precious than any other gift his cousin could give him.

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A Christmas Memory

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