(Short Stories for Students)

Throughout "A Christmas Memory" the narrator refers to himself only in the first person (I, me, myself), but his friend calls him Buddy "in memory of a boy who was formerly her best friend" and who had died when she was a child. Truman Capote said that Buddy is based on himself; as a boy, Capote indeed lived with an elderly, somewhat eccentric cousin in a country house full of relatives. At the time the story takes place Buddy is seven years old, and his age influences the way he perceives the events going on around him. Despite his youth, he proves perceptive. Buddy understands that even though his friend is in her sixties, "She is still a child." He lives with relatives in "a spreading old house in a country town,'' but he and his cousin manage to remain somewhat separate from them, ''We are not, on the whole, too much aware of them. We are each other's best friend," he says. By recognizing this, Buddy reveals his compassion for society's outsiders, as his cousin is considered. Every Saturday she gives him a dime and he goes to the movies, which influences his decision to be a tap dancer when he grows up. Because his friend never goes to movies, Buddy tells her about them, thus honing his storytelling skills. Later, when he recounts that he has been sent to military school, the sensitive narrator breaks the nostalgic mood of the story and provides its bittersweet resolution: ''home is where my friend is, and there I never go.''

Mr. Haha Jones
Described as a "giant with razor scars across his cheeks," Haha Jones is proprietor of a "sinful" fish-fry and dancing cafe. The name...

(The entire section is 657 words.)