Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*New Orleans

*New Orleans. Louisiana city that is Joel’s hometown. It is a place where he feels isolated and alone, but one that nurtures his growing interest in the adult world. He never feels at home in New Orleans. Feeling like an outsider, he often skips school and hangs out with older, African American fruit pickers. His alienation from the gloomy city is not helped by his lack of friends and parents, and he daydreams about stowing away on a banana boat to Central America and becoming an adult with a good job in some foreign city. In his dreams, he wants to be as far away as possible from New Orleans.

Paradise Chapel

Paradise Chapel. Rustic Louisiana village meant to represent rural Louisiana as a whole. During the summer, the town is a dusty place full of truck drivers transporting interstate goods. For Joel, it is a point of transition in his voyage from New Orleans to his new final destination. His genealogical attachment to the land of the American South is symbolized by the big luggage that belonged to his Confederate great grandfather. Joel is carrying a piece of history with him in a rusty and dusty town of the Deep South that pays no attention to a sensitive boy who is alienated from his own geographical roots.

Noon City

Noon City. Another small Louisiana town. Upon entering Noon City, Joel has a singular experience that is tied to the mysteries and perversions of the location. The town is so rustic that it appears to belong to an era fifty or one hundred years earlier than the time in which the novel is set. The...

(The entire section is 660 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

As in most Capote novels, locales are described in minute physical detail. These descriptions are impressionistic; they define the essential...

(The entire section is 786 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Other Voices, Other Rooms—Truman Capote's first published novel—was critically acclaimed when it was published in 1948, but its...

(The entire section is 588 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In this, his first novel, Truman Capote is concerned less about social issues than about personal themes; however, Other Voices, Other...

(The entire section is 345 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The themes of failed communication, misdirected love, insecurity, and isolation of the individual are reminiscent of Carson McCullers'...

(The entire section is 104 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

In his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, Capote introduces recurring characters, most notably the young male orphan and the...

(The entire section is 151 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Capote, Truman. Preface to Other Voices, Other Rooms. New York: Random House, 1968. Reflects on his first novel, explaining the source of its inspiration and discussing its autobiographical nature. Reading Capote’s insights into his own work enriches the reading of the novel.

Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography. New York: Ballantine, 1989. Well-documented from primary sources, including seven years of interviews with Capote. Other Voices, Other Rooms gets extensive coverage, from publication to theme to the novel’s symbolism. Gives Capote’s view on the homosexuality in the novel. Bibliography, notes, and an annotated index.

Moates, Marianne M. A Bridge of Childhood: Truman Capote’s Southern Years. 1st ed. New York: Henry Holt, 1989. A compilation of stories about Capote’s childhood, giving background on Joel Knox as an autobiographical character. The pathos in Joel Knox comes from Capote’s investing his adult sense of abandonment in the child character.

Nance, William L. The Worlds of Truman Capote. Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.: Stein and Day, 1970. Illuminates Capote’s insight on his use of imagination. A full chapter on Other Voices, Other Rooms. Provides a plot summary and thorough analysis of themes in the novel.

Reed, Kenneth T. Truman Capote. Boston: Twayne: 1981. Gives extensive plot summary and analysis of Other Voices, Other Rooms.