What does Queenie symbolize in "A Christmas Memory"?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In “A Christmas Memory” by Truman Capote, the rat terrier named Queenie symbolizes a number of ideas.

The story is set in the poverty-stricken South, where Buddy and his cousin live in a house with extended family. This was a common practice at the time. Queenie functions as a third friend to Buddy and his cousin. The dog has a royal name but does not live a royal life. Queenie rides around in a dilapidated baby buggy instead of a fancy carriage and begs for table scraps. The dog can be found lounging in front of the fire in a royal fashion while Buddy and his cousin work on their fruitcakes.

Queenie has also sometimes been interpreted as a symbol of Truman Capote's connection to the people of different sexual orientations. Capote uses subtle symbolism with his use of the dog's name and the "fruitcakes" (see this argument). There was a lack of acceptance for gay people in the 1940s and 1950s; some think Capote subtly addresses this in his short story.

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A Christmas Memory

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