Explication for “A Diamond Guitar”
The final scene of Truman Capote’s “A Diamond Guitar” helps the reader develop a perfect view of how the characters in the story truly are. Mr. Schaeffer, a man of 50, is in prison because he killed a man, and Tico Feo, a boy of only 18, is there because he cut a sailor’s ear off. From details throughout the story you can tell that each man has done this for a different reason, but I would not say that either are bad men. Mr. Schaeffer is claimed to have only done one really bad thing in his life and that is killing a man, but only because he “deserved to die” (pg. 142). Tico Feo, on the other hand, did his crime for a completely different reason. Not much contextual evidence is given to why Tico Feo committed his crime, but based on his reaction to another confrontation in which he stole a comb from another inmate and “replied by spitting in his face” (pg. 147), teenage angst may be the only thing that drove him to do so. Capote shows that Mr. Schaeffer is a good man despite doing the one bad thing. You can tell that he does care for Tico Feo even after he breaks out of prison. Proof of this is that Mr. Schaeffer is concerned about what Tico Feo will think when he sees the article about trying to stop him from breaking out when really he was trying to leave himself. Also, he keeps Tico Feo’s diamond guitar under his bed, sometimes having his hand seek it out for his fingers to “drift across the strings: then, the world” (pg. 155). This line in particular shows that Mr. Schaeffer cares because throughout the text, he refers to Tico Feo reminding him of “the brown rivers where the fish run, and ladies with sunlight in their hair”, meaning that Tico Feo reminds him of life outside of prison. The other inmates feel it as well, but they prefer not to think of this. When it comes down to it, everyone at the farm is a prisoner, especially Tico Feo. And what prisoner wants to stay in prison? Mr. Schaeffer’s...
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