Theory Of Christmas Memory Everydayness Essay


Discuss About The Theory Of Christmas Memory Everydayness?



“A Christmas memory” is a short story authored by Truman Capote back in 1963. It is a critically acclaimed story that revolves around two friends with over six decades of age gap between them. The writing revolves around the beauty, simplicity and the genuineness of their friendship. The book is largely autobiographical narrated from the standpoint of a seven year old living with his best friend and distant cousin who is an elderly lady. ‘A Christmas memory’ has often been recorded, played and acted in theatres and movies by various leading production houses across the globe.

Every day and everydayness is a theory given by one of the finest philosophers of his time Henri Lefebvre. He pioneered this particular theory in 1930s where he defined everyday as an intersection between the truth and illusion, power and helplessness and most importantly every day is the intersection between what man can control and what he cannot. In this theory Lefebvre argues that in this era of modernization, our relationship to objects has becomes materialistic and fundamental (Lefebvre 1930)[1]. However, Capote in his writings has successfully challenges this aspect of his theory by displaying unconditional and effortless love between these two friends. In this essay we would be discussing various incidents that challenge this theory.

Incidents discussed:

Gifting Kites

In the story, Capote throws light on how the author and his buddy and distant cousin live together amicably and consider each other very close friends. One of the instances mentioned in the story goes on to show how despite getting numerous presents from other family members, how the kite that they make for each other continue to remain their most favorite gifts. They always aspire to surprise each other but they both know each other’s economic status. Despite living together, they go to separate corners of the house in order to make that kite for each other. Their excitement is evident and the privacy that they provide each other in spite of being aware that they are both making kites clearly defies Lefebvre’s theory as their relationship with the kite is neither fundamental nor materialistic, rather it displays genuine affection for each other.

Baking Cakes

As described in the book, both of them were poor and short of food and money, still they ensure every Christmas that they make 30 cakes for absolute strangers or acquaintances whom they have encountered just once in their lifetimes. President Roosevelt also receives his share of the cake even though he is not even remotely aware of their existence. This is solely because President has struck their fancy (Capote 1963)[2]. Abner packer, another person for whom they bake a cake is the driver of the 6 o clock bus who acknowledges them every day. They exchange waves and wish each other well but they never stop to communicate. Hence it is definite that the relationship is not as deep. Still they confirm that they send him a cake every Christmas. In this era of modernization, everyone appears selfish with no regard for another but Capote’s characters show feelings of immense love, gratefulness and selflessness for so many people including each other.

The $13 Superstition

The author and his buddy have been known to save money all year long to be able to afford making cakes on Christmas. This year they collected $13 but buddy is superstitious about the number thirteen and strongly believes that the cakes will either fall or someone will die by eating those cakes. To remedy this, they throw a penny out of the window so that their total sum of money amounts to be less than $13. Capote has depicted a clear consideration for other people’s safety and well-being. In spite of being poor and short on mullah, they do not consider a penny more valuable than the emotions behind the cakes that they bake for people or the lives of those people. This is the second incident where Lefebvre’s theory has been radically challenged.

Whiskey in Exchange for cake

One of the incidences of the book showcases Mr. Haha who is the owner of a whiskey factory. Author and his buddy need whiskey to bake the cakes which is the most expensive raw material required by them. Firstly his friend, approaches Mr. Haha and offers to buy his finest whiskey, which indicates that she does not wishes to settle on a lower quality of cake even though she will not get to eat any of it. Secondly, when Mr. Haha realizes that they are running low on money as he seems them struggling with nickels and dimes and pennies. As soon as he holds the currency in his hand, he softens and puts it back in the purse of the author’s friend. He instead offers to give them the whiskey in return of a cake. Capote once again proves Lefebvre wrong as Mr. Haha’s character is built as a large and ruthless man who has many pending cases in the court and is allegedly accused with killing and hitting numerous people in his caf? including his Indian wife. This darkly described character also melts down when he seem an elder lady and a small child of seven struggling with money and refuses to take cash from them. This depicts that everyone at every time is not materialistic but certain actions are taken solely based out of emotion and respect.

Celebrating being broke

After the cakes have been baked, they are sent to their respective consumers via post. Capote describes that after their visit to the post office, once the cakes have been sent, they have spent their entire mullah and are now broke. The author expresses his disappointment but his friend insists that they celebrate the moment. This shows an attitude of gratitude. Very clearly, the author’s friend is shown as a selfless character who prioritizes happiness of others over herself. This is yet another incident where Lefebvre’s theory has been proved wrong.

Sunday Ritual – Movie worth 10 cents

We observe in the story that the author receives 10 cents from his buddy every Sunday to watch a movie. Capote also mentions that buddy has herself never gone to watch a movie in the theater but still because of shortage of money, she does not go either. However, despite this she send her friend, the little boy religiously every Sunday with 10 cents and once he comes back he narrates the entire story to her. This is the ritual that they have followed every Sunday. This goes on to show how buddy ensures that the author has this experience every Sunday even though she has never had that experience for herself.

Christmas tree- Not for sale

Towards the end of the story we notice how they get themselves a Christmas tree after going through so much trouble, they ensure they get the best one. However, when a rich lady offers to buy that tree, the author’s friend bluntly refuses stating that they would not even except one dollar for it. This demonstrates how it is impossible to put a price tag on certain things completely contradictory to Lefebvre’s idea of an avaricious relationship to objects.

A fond memory

Lastly, the story ends a few years down the line when the author and her buddy have gone separate ways, however their relationship has not been affected by the distance. She continues to single handedly bake cakes for a few Novembers and sends Capote the best of the batch. She also sends him 10 cents folded in a toilet paper and writes that he should go watch a movie and write her the story. When she passes away, the author is shattered and looks up at the sky in the hope of seeing kites illustrating his relationship with her is beyond material objects and how she will always continue to remain in his heart strongly flouting Lefebvre till the end.


“Every day and Everydayness.” Word Press. 17 September 2012.

“A Christmas Memory.” Weber. 4 August, 2003.

[1] “Every day and Everydayness.” Word Press. 17 September 2012.

[2] “A Christmas Memory.” Weber. 4 August, 2003.

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