Truman Capote is well known for his unique writing style. He uses several tactics in his stories to create a sense of involvement for his audience. When one reads Truman Capote, they feel as if they are a part of the story themselves. One of Capote’s most read stories is “A Christmas Memory”. Capote uses immediacy to recreate a memory of over twenty years prior to writing the story. In addition to his immediacy, Capote’s syntax keeps the reader interested throughout the entire story.
One of the most important stylistic features of “A Christmas Memory” is Truman’s use of immediacy. Capote wrote the story as an adult, remembering a time of over twenty years in the past; however he avoids the feeling of distance a past-tense story might accommodate, or the impersonal detachment that accompanies a third-person narrative. Being very passionate about his writing, Capote wanted to create a strong emotional feeling throughout the story, as if he wanted the memoir to be acted out or scripted for a play.
Capote’s story begins by making the reader feel as though they are sitting in an audience. “Imagine a morning of late November. A coming of morning more than twenty years ago” puts the readers mind in the past. Capote is asking the readers to become his audience, as if they were sitting in the theater (Paragraph 1). Before the end of the first paragraph, Capote transitions into present tense, “Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar” (paragraph 1). This creates a dramatic effect and grabs the reader’s attention.
The immediate dramatic quality is preserved in the entire story. Occasionally, Capote will reference a time prior to the event in the story “Once, we won seventy-ninth prize, five dollars, in a national football contest”; however he quickly returns to the present “at the moment our hopes are centered on a fifty-thousand dollar Grand Prize..” to keep the readers interest (Paragraph 9).
In addition to immediacy, Capote’s syntax is very...