What kind of weather is "fruitcake weather"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Truman Capote's reminiscence (an autobiographical account of an experience from the past), "fruitcake weather" is colder weather that signals the season of winter; of course, with winter comes Christmastime. 

"Fruitcake weather" additionally signals to Buddy's childlike cousin that it is the season in which she has a purpose which gives meaning to her life. Then she, too, eagerly anticipates the arrival of Buddy, who will assist her in her project of gathering and loading pecans into an old baby carriage, obtaining illegal whiskey, and purchasing the raisins and other necessary ingredients for the making of the fruitcakes that they give to strangers.

For Buddy, "fruitcake weather" is an exciting time in which he is with his dear cousin who affords him loving companionship, adventure, and imaginative activities. Theirs is a friendship forged by outcasts of society, so it is not surprising that they send their fruitcakes to strangers. Buddy wonders,

Is it because my friend is shy with everyone except strangers that these strangers, and merest acquaintances, seem to us our truest friends? 

With strangers, as with each other, there are no judgments passed upon them. Therefore, "fruitcake weather" is also a time in which the outer world of critical adults is suspended. During this time, Buddy and his cousin can unreel their kites and watch them "cavort" in the sky, free spirits who give play to their imaginations without interference.

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Imagine a morning in late November, a cold, crisp morning in November my friend would exclaim, "Oh Buddy, it's fruitcake weather."  "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote is one of the best holiday stories ever written.  Fruitcake weather is a day in late November that reminds everyone that Christmas is around the corner, and the holiday season has begun.  My grandmother, my mom and I always made fruitcakes in November.  The best time is pretty close to Thanksgiving.  The cold weather doesn't really have anything to do with baking the cakes, except for the items that go into the cakes.  In the fall, after the nuts have fallen from the trees, after the harvest is the best time to get the ingredients for fruitcakes.  After the fruit, flour, suet, sugar and nuts and all the other ingredients are mixed, the fruitcakes bake.  They are cooled and then wrapped in cheese cloth.  The cakes are then soaked with Bourbon, rum, or whiskey.  After they are good and soaked, the cakes are put back and forgotten until around Christmas.  This gives them time to soak in the flavor of all the ingredients.  It takes about a month for fruitcakes to really gain their full flavor, thus, November is usually considered, "fruitcake weather."

I have read this to my English classes for 20 years and every group seems to enjoy the story.  If you haven't read it please do so.  You won't be sorry.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Memory

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