A Christmas Memory Study Guide
A Christmas Memory: Themes
A Christmas Memory: Characters
A Christmas Memory: Analysis
A Christmas Memory: Critical Essays
A Christmas Memory: Multiple-Choice Quizzes
A Christmas Memory: Questions & Answers
A Christmas Memory: Introduction
A Christmas Memory: Biography of Truman Capote
Introduction to A Christmas Memory
“A Christmas Memory” is a short story by Truman Capote. It was originally published in Mademoiselle magazine in 1956 before later being included in The Selected Writings of Truman Capote in 1963. The holiday themes and overall sentimentality of the story have made it enduringly popular around Christmas in the years following its publication, and it has been frequently adapted for film, television, and radio. “A Christmas Memory” is also noted for its autobiographical elements, with Capote admitting that he based the characters off of himself and his own much-older cousin, whom he regarded as his childhood best friend.
Both Buddy, the story’s protagonist, and his elderly cousin have a love for life, and they celebrate Christmas with a simple joy that the adults around them do not understand. The generosity of baking cakes for people they do not know highlights the childlike innocence that the two friends share. However, the story is tinged with reflective melancholy, as a now-adult Buddy acknowledges that his cousin has since died. Memory, then, becomes a connection to an unobtainable past. It is also a link between the Buddy of the present day and the child that he once was. Though he can no longer go through life in the innocent manner he once did, his Christmas memories with his cousin are a spot of warmth in an often dismal world.
A Brief Biography of Truman Capote
Truman Capote (1924–1984) was an American writer whose greatest success and biggest downfall was his book In Cold Blood. When the book was published in 1966, the never-modest Capote hailed it as a new genre, “the nonfiction novel.” The book was well-received, commercially successful, and spawned a film adaptation the following year. Despite this, Capote was dogged by rumors that he exaggerated, twisted, or fabricated large portions of the work. Capote naturally denied these rumors, and though his own penchant for hyperbole and self-promotion have led some critics to continue to doubt the truthfulness of In Cold Blood, it remains a towering literary achievement and a staple of true-crime literary studies. Although his later years were marked by scandal and substance abuse, Capote’s body of work ensured his reputation as a literary and cultural icon.