The Changing Effects of One as told in Children on Their Birthdays
In Truman Capote’s “Children on Their Birthdays,” the reader is allowed to see the ability one person has to effect a community. Through the character of Miss Bobbit, Capote shows all of the different effects, both positive and negative, that a young girl was able to have on an entire town. Through the effects of Miss Bobbit, the reader sees how a small shakeup in what is expected to be normal can benefit something for the better.
From the offset of the story the characters lives were shown to be normal and boring. Capote’s description of life before Miss Bobbit allows the reader to see how simple and boring the lives of the characters were. “Anyway we were sitting on the porch, tutti-frutti melting on our plates, when suddenly, just as we were wishing that something would happen, something did.” (184). The characters need for excitement and change is once again shown when Miss Bobbit arrives, and the young boys on the porch react to her arrival. “But Billy Bob and all the other boys, none of whom was over thirteen, followed down to the gate after us.
From their faces you would have thought they’d never seen a girl before.” (184,185). The boys desire to see the girl further shows their desperate need for something to change their way of life.
Change due to Miss Bobbit becomes most apparent in the characters of Billy Bob and Preacher Star. The idea of something different started a rivalry that would lead to the eventual downfall of a friendship. The first sign of change in the two is shown in the scene where Billy Bob picks the roses. “She’s so cute, he whispered, she’s the cutest *censored*ens I ever saw, gee, to hell with it, I don’t care, I’d pick all the roses in China.” (187). Billy Bob’s total disregard for his mother’s prize roses shows a definite change. Through the reactions of Bill Bob and his mother, it becomes clear to the reader that this was not an act that Billy Bob would have committed before the arrival of Miss Bobbit. Preacher’s changing is also shown in the scene with the roses. “Preacher would have picked all the roses in China too. He was as crazy about her as Billy Bob.” (187, 188). The two boys that were once viewed as the “tough” youngsters of the town were quickly becoming softhearted lovers in an attempt to win Miss Bobbit’s heart.
Yet it was not until later that the reader was able to see the real effect she had on the boys. Through their infatuation with Miss Bobbit, the boys had gained a jealousy for one another. The jealousy reached its peak when the boy’s competition resulted in a fight. “That’s a damn lie, said Billy Bob, and with a clean left hook he knocked him off the Sawyer porch and jumped after him into a bed of nasturtiums.” (191). Miss Bobbit’s effect on the boys turned out to be a very negative...