Why was Mr. HaHa always frowning in "A Christmas Memory"?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Capote is never specific for the reasons that HaHa has received a reputation for frowning.  The inference is that he leads a difficult life with a difficult job.  The description of his wife is less than pleasant:

an iodine-dark Indian woman with brassy peroxided hair and a dead-tired disposition.

The description of HaHa's physical appearance suggests a troubled past:

A giant with razor scars across his cheeks.

And the description of the bar that he owns suggests that it is a rough place:

.....a large log cabin festooned inside and out with chains of garish-gay naked light bulbs and standing by the river's muddy edge under the shade of river trees where moss drifts through the branches like gray mist....People have been murdered in Haha's cafe. Cut to pieces. Hit on the head. There's a case coming up in court next month. Naturally these goings-on happen at night when the colored lights cast crazy patterns and the Victrolah wails.

However, it is untrue that HaHa never smiles.  He briefly brightens when narrator and his friend ask for whiskey:

His eyes tilt more. Would you believe it? Haha is smiling! Laughing, too. "Which one of you is a drinkin' man?"

HaHa is just another example that all people - even the grumpiest - can be generous and pleasant.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Memory

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