In the NOVEL "breakfast at Tiffany s," where is it shown that the male lead character is gay?

I ve seen the film about 100 times. I just read the book for the first time. I enjoyed it, but I totally missed the fact that the narrator (who would be Paul, Holly s heterosexual love interest in the film) was supposed to be gay.

Apparently, Holly called him a "Maude," which I didn t find out until later was slang for a gay male prostitute in that era. Now I am struggling to find the page of the book where she calls him this so I can see the context.

Also, it is said that before she explicitly calls him a Maude, it is hinted throughout the novel that his character is not straight. Can anyone let me know what these hints are?

1 Answer

Relevance
  • 1 year ago

    While the narrator's ambiguous sexual orientation is hinted at in previous sections, section 16 offers the reader a more explicit acknowledgement that he is a homosexual. Holly addresses the narrator as "Maude," which, in the gay slang of the time, refers either to a male prostitute or a homosexual. Instead of defining the narrator outright as a homosexual, Capote identifies him with slang that would have been obscure to everyone those with intimate knowledge of the gay underworld. This subtlety, apart from protecting Breakfast at Tiffany's from censorship, adds an element of social critique to the novella, dramatizing the indirect and delicate way even sympathizers were forced to treat homosexuality in the hostile, homophobic milieu of war-time America.

    Page 23

    however; her eyes were dilated by unhappy visions, as were mine: iron rooms, steel

    corridors of gradually closing doors. "Oh, screw it," she said, and stabbed out her

    cigarette. "I have a fair chance they won't catch me. Provided you keep your bouche

    fermez. Look. Don't despise me, darling." She put her hand over mine and pressed it

    with sudden immense sincerity. "I haven't much choice. I talked it over with the lawyer: oh, I didn't tell him anything regarding Rio -- he'd tip the badgers himself, rather than lose his fee, to say nothing of the nickels O.J. put up for bail. Bless O.J.'s heart; but once on the coast I helped him win more than ten thou in a single poker hand: we're square. No, here's the real shake: all the badgers want from me is a couple of free grabs and my services as a state's witness against Sally -- nobody has any intention of prosecuting me, they haven't a ghost of a case. Well, I may be rotten to the core, Maude, but: testify against a friend I will not. Not if they can prove he doped Sister Kenny. My yardstick is how somebody treats me, and old Sally, all right he wasn't absolutely white with me, say he took a slight advantage, just the same Sally's an okay shooter, and I'd let the fat woman snatch me sooner than help the law-boys pin him down." Tilting her compact mirror above her face, smoothing her lipstick with a crooked

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.