The Thanksgiving Visitor
First edition in solo book form (1968)
|Preceded by||"A Christmas Memory"|
|Followed by||"One Christmas"|
"The Thanksgiving Visitor" is a short story by Truman Capote originally published in the November 1967 issue of McCall's magazine, and later published as a book by Random House, Inc. in 1968. The story takes the form of a childhood tale about a boy and his bully problem. The story has a strong moral lesson related to revenge. It is a sequel to Capote's A Christmas Memory.
The Thanksgiving Visitor was inspired by Truman Capote's childhood growing up in Alabama. One of the main characters, Miss Sook Faulk is based directly on Truman's older cousin, Nanny Rumbley Faulk, whom Truman called "Sook".
The story is narrated by eight-year-old Buddy, whose older cousin is his best friend. Buddy gets stopped on the way to school every day by local bully Odd Henderson, who pins him to the ground and rubs burrs into Buddy's head because "he's a sissy", an appellation to which Buddy admits. To stop this problem, his cousin, Miss Sook, invites Odd to her big Thanksgiving party. During the party, when Buddy is sulking in his bathroom cupboard, he spots Odd stealing a precious cameo. When Odd leaves the bathroom, Buddy leaves and claims in front of the whole party that Odd has stolen the cameo. Miss Sook goes to check, and she claims that the cameo is in place, but then Odd admits to stealing the cameo, lays it on a table, and walks out. Buddy then runs out and sulks in the barn, until the afternoon, when Miss Sook teaches him that he shouldn't have publicly humiliated Odd.
Reception and critical analysis
An aunt of Truman Capote's was hurt by the tale because she felt Capote had invented a troubled childhood. She said "I just can't believe what Truman has made us out to be and the way he's talked about his childhood. We were a very decent, well-off family, and he's made it to be quite another story."
The story was adapted for television and filmed in Alabama with Capote and many of his friends and family present as observers. The 1967 television production of The Thanksgiving Visitor earned Geraldine Page a second Emmy Award.
- A Christmas Memory Also includes "One Christmas" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" (New York: Modern rary, 2007), copyright page.
- A Christmas Memory Also includes "One Christmas" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" (New York: Modern Library, 2007), cover flap.
- Rudisill, Marie & Simmons, James C. The Southern Haunting of Truman Capote (Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House, 2000), page 65.
- Plimpton, George Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (New York: Doubleday, 1997), page 361.
- Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pages 390-391.
- Geraldine Page – Awards at the Internet Movie Database
- Capote, Truman (2007). A Christmas Memory: Also includes "One Christmas" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor". New York: Modern Library. ISBN 978-0679602378.
- Clarke, Gerald (1988). Capote, A Biography (1st ed.). New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0241125496.
- Plimpton, George (1997). Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385232497.
- Rudisill, Marie; Simmons, James (2000). The Southern Haunting of Truman Capote (1st ed.). Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House. ISBN 1581821360.