Truman Garcia Capote was born on the 30th of September, in 1924, in New Orleans, the United States. His parents were Archulus Persons, a salesman, and Lillie Mae Faulk. Unfortunately, his parents divorced when he was just four. Soon after their separation, he was sent to Alabama to stay with his mother’s relatives Nanny Rumbley Faulk. There, he stayed for five years and developed good relationships with them. Also, he shared a strong social bond with his neighbor, Harper Lee, another popular writer.
Truman taught himself the art of reading and writing before he attended the first institution. He used to carry his notebook and a dictionary even as a five-year-old to write something. He wrote his first fiction story at 11 years old. His mother took him to New York in 1932, when his stepfather, accepted him as his son. Truman Streckfus Persons then became Truman Garcia Capote. The same year, he attended Trinity School in New York, followed by St. Joseph Military Academy. Later, in 1939, the family moved to Greenwich, where he attended Greenwich High School and started writing for the school’s newspaper and literary journal. However, in 1941, they resettled in New York, and he was admitted to Franklin School and became a graduate in 1942. Unfortunately, his school life between 1936 and 1937 was terrible because he was openly gay and was bullied by other students for that.
- His first published work, Mariam, won O. Henry Memorial Award.
- Most of his writings were adapted for television and films.
- In the late 80s, he took to drug addiction and alcohol, which resulted in his bad health. However, he died on the 25th of August, in 1994, in Los Angeles.
Truman Capote, a leading icon of the nineteenth century, led a traumatic life. Despite all these challenges, he produced various masterpieces throughout his life. He started writing at a very young age and enjoyed fame during his lifetime. His first haunting story, Miriam, won early recognition for him in 1945. Later, in 1948, his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, won universal recognition for him. His other work, Shut a Final Door, combined with stories of isolated and loveless souls were fictionalized in A Tree of Night and Other Stories. One of his most popular works, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, came up in 1958, followed by his non-fictional novel, The Cold Blood. Later in the late 1960s, his two short stories, The Thanksgiving Visitor, and The Christmas Memory were adapted for television. Besides writing non-fictional novels, he produced plays, straight reportages, film scripts, and television adaptations from plays and books. In 2006, 20 years after Truman’s death, Summer Crossing was published by Random House. It was supposedly written in the 1940s.
Truman Capote, a towering figure, mesmerized the generations with his pen. His writings were mostly marked with the dark, depressing tone along with complex structures and elaborate details, and yet won universal acclaim. He avoided following the writing parameters set by the former authors and devised a distinct style on account of his terror-filled type of detective and horror fiction. His writings reflect the loneliness and depressing life of an individual. In his novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, he used literary elements and elements of suspense to present autobiographical portrayal of a boy who searches for his sexual identity and his father in the world. His early style was experimental and literary. However, in the late 40s, he adapted a concrete, clear, and vivid style, which is evident in his masterpiece, Breakfast at Tiffany. While his other major work, In Cold Blood, presents a chilling account of four murders and execution of the crime. However, imagery played a central and pivotal role in all of his works. The recurring themes in most of his writings are loneliness, crime, psychological manipulation, and sexuality.
Truman Capote’s Major Works
- Best Novels: Some of his best works include The Grass Harp, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Summer Crossing, and Other Voices, Other Rooms.
- Other Works: Besides non-fictional novels, he tried his hands on other areas, some of which include “Carmen Therezinha Solbiati – So Chic”, “A Christmas Memory”, “Brooklyn Heights: A Personal Memoir”, “Mojave”, “House of Flowers” and A Tree of Night and Other Stories.
Truman Capote’s Impact on Future Literature
Truman Capote is one of the leading yet controversial figures of American history. His intellectual ideas left a permanent mark on the world literature, and after his demise, he still exerts strong influence across the globe. His witty ideas, critical outlook, and journalistic approach in writings never ran out of ideas. He had a significant influence on other writers and critics, for his masterpieces provided the principles for the writers of succeeding generations. His representation of mysterious murders and their consequences is relevant even in today’s world.
- The answer is good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean… Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
- The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface: and why not? Any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell. (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
- “The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” (In Cold Blood)
- “But I’m not a saint yet. I’m an alcoholic. I’m a drug addict. I’m homosexual. I’m a genius.” (Music for Chameleons)