what do we think of Holly when we first meet her? Ch. 2: pg18

Mr Yunioshi – Sid Arbuck – Harry – In chapter 2 there seems to be a string of men all on Holly’s trail.

Is the narrator’s first impression of Holly the same as ours is likely to be – I quite like her at this point as the men she fools seem to be fools themselves – even our narrator starts having his bell rung – maybe Holly didn’t let Mr Yunioshi take the pictures, she just moves onto the new guy; he seems equally naive about this.


7 thoughts on “what do we think of Holly when we first meet her? Ch. 2: pg18

  1. Holly appears right from the start to be what we would colloquially call a ‘user’. She uses the promise of sex as a tool to smooth her way. As Viv has noted one can only ever envisage her as Audrey Hepburn – the film being a classic and her image used in all sorts of way. Hepburn personifies the description of Holly in the novella. I am not sure I like her at all! Charlotte

    • As a blokey, I feel fascinated by her, as does the narrator, and can quite see how she gets her way by manipulating the men she meets – I imagine she just the sort of woman you want to stare at – especially men – which explains Audrey’s casting – I love the bit where she just ‘starts ringing my bell’ as if she is accomplished at moving around the men in her life, when one gets too tetchy or emotionally attached – a survival technique, probably. It would be interesting to see if women readers like/dislike her more than men. Do younger readers view her differently to older readers, I wonder? Jon

    • I feel very indifferently to Holly which is odd as usually I have an immediate like/dislike to a character. I haven’t seen the film so I have no preconceptions about her. I mainly feel she is a bit shallow and quite boring, as for the men she uses that’s their daft fault but I think they enjoy being used anyway.
      I have read the book fully and am now going to re-read it in case I have missed something.


  2. My first impressions – I agree that it is difficult to think of Holly without the influence of Audrey Hepburn’s very sweet and gentle image. Holly is so much tougher than this – highly manipulative and sharper but not as likeable. I don’t like her and agree that she’s fascinating, vulnerable and determined, but she is also predatory and manipulative. I do want to know what motivates her and what happens to her. As the narrator is also a man -how much is he a victim of her power? How different would it be if the narrator had been a woman?. Does anyone else see so many similarities between this story, Holly’s character and Isherwood’s Sally Bowles?


  3. I am new member of group…6 days to read book so had to skim!! I feel that except for her gorgeous looks, Audrey was miscast as Hollly..far too gentle!. No, I did not like Holly at first, but as more is revealed of her past, I did warm to her and have a sneaking admiration for her single minded, although selfish ambition.She is a “seeker”and wants to belong..see ref. to not naming cat on p40..She comments re. Tiffany,s, “I need a real place like this..the quietness and proud look of it” She is a very complex character, despite her frivolous, amoral lifestyle.

    • I haven’t seen the film so am not tainted by Audrey Hepburn’s portrayal.

      I see Holly as damaged. She is discovered by one of Doc’s children starving and homeless – and then becomes a teenage bride to a man much older than her and becomes mother to his churren. She dreams of a better life and leaves ending up in New York where she has a series of relationships with men she sees as meal tickets, she doesn’t like them but feels she has to give them the illusion of love. They are all rats apart from Doc and Jose and she is not sure about Jose – and he dumps her when the going gets tough.

      She is afraid of forming deep relationships, her only friend is Fred the narrator but she withdraws or clams up when he gets too close.

      Survival is her ambition and exploiting men’s ‘weaknesses’ is her way.


    • I totally agree Gill – Holly is a character I warmed too as I read on – she seems to highlight the weaknesses in others more than in herself. She does have a well-developed sense of self for someone of her age, I think she’s 19. One of the most powerful philosophies expressed in the book is the one where she expresses her view of Tiffany’s – which becomes emblematic, as you point out, to the ideal that she is seeking; she wont name the cat until she’s found it. She shows strength of character here, she is clearly driven by ambition and action – the horse incident proves this. But she is also able to cloak herself in the superficial, to ‘play the game’, I guess she’s testing the world she lives in to see what it can bring her. Her statement to the press is very melodramatic – the whole scene quite farsical and she knows how to rise to the occasion – her constant reference to religion as a device for innocence for herself and Sally Tomato – she is playing the media, echoes of which we can see everyday in our press.

      Thanks for the blog.


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