What was Truman Capotes' life like when he was young?

Was he ever happy in his life? Was he ever married at all? Did anyone ever really care about this man or was he just laughed at and used?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Truman Capote was born in New Orleans, as the son of a salesman and a 16-year-old beauty queen, Lillie Mae Faulk. His father, Archulus "Arch" Persons, worked as a clerk for a steamboat company. Persons never stuck at any job for long, and was always leaving home in search for new opportunities. The unhappy marriage gradually disintegrated. When Capote was four, his parents eventually divorced.

    The young Truman was brought up in Monroeville, Alabama. He lived some years with his relatives, one of whom became the model for the loving, elderly spinster of the author's novels, stories, and plays. "Her face is remarkable - not unlike Lincoln's, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind," described Capote in A CHRISTMAS MEMORY (1966) his distant relative Sook, Nanny Rumbley Faulk. Sook was sixty-something, "small and sprightly, like a bantam hen..." Capote's mother, Lillie Mae, wrote letters and telephoned to her son, often crying that she had no money and no husband.

    In his childhood Capote made friends with Harper Lee, who portrayed him as Dill in her world famous novel To Kill a Mockingbird. "Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead."

    After Capote's mother married again, this time a well-to-do businessman, Capote moved to New York, and adopted his stepfather's surname. He attended the Trinity School and St. John's Academy in New York, and the public schools of Greenwich, Connecticut. At the age of seventeen, Capote ended his formal schooling. He found work at the New Yorker, where he attracted attention with his eccentric style of dress. "... I recall him sweeping through the corridors of the magazine in a black opera cape, his long golden hair falling to his shoulders: an apparition that put one in mind of Oscar Wilde in Nevada, in his velvets and lilies." (Brendan Gill in Here at The New Yorker, 1975)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Capote was the quintessential New York literary "fairy" (and this is meant in the best sense). Effeminate, eccentric in dress, but brilliant at conversation and one of the century's best writers; his personal magnatism got him close to high-society New York. By his own account, he was 'pretty' when he was young, and this is true if you see the early photographs.

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