Drugs. Murder. Prostitution. These words should never be discussed in a classroom, particularly when they will influence the audience to participate in them. Truman Capote's nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, discusses all of these horrid issues through the chilling account of the Clutter family murder on November fifteenth, 1959. This novel includes elicit dissuasion of violence and sexual content, not appropriate for a young audience. Although youth should not be sheltered from the evil world around them, In Cold Blood should be banned from instruction in high schools due to its graphic and gruesome portrayal of criminal actions.
Murder can be defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”. How then, are others able to make us sympathize with not only murderers, but people who have committed horrendous crimes? For example, the media is constantly attempting to humanize rapists and even terrorists with phrases like “lone wolf” or “alienated and adrift.” Such phrases make some of us want to pity the criminal. This can be seen when we compare Perry Smith and Dick Hickock from Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Capote portrays only one of these two seemingly distinct characters (Perry) in a way that the reader feels the need to relate to and even sympathize with him. One can be taken aback by such an attachment to a murderer. This is not surprising as the author uses his compassionate diction to manipulate the reader’s emotions with a use of pathos, the appeal to emotions. At one point Capote goes as far as to write that “Smith’s life had been no bed of roses,” (Capote 245) attempting to have the readers relate to Perry. On the other hand, Capote has Dick say this about himself: “Deal me out, baby, I’m a normal” (Capote 116). By using phrases such as these, Capote creates an unfavorable impression of Dick and and a biased tone. The same cannot be said for Perry as Capote produces an almost benevolent tone toward him with the help of pathos, “the most powerful appeal” (Noel, 2011).
In In Cold Blood, Truman Capote used different rhetorical strategies to create sympathy and influence the idea that there are always two sides to every story. All throughout the book, Capote illustrated sympathetical emotion towards both types of characters, the protagonists and antagonists; Whereas in this case, Capote expressed the sides of the protagonist and antagonist.
Excerpts of this monologue include “So I say the sane thing to do is shut up. You live until you die. And it doesn't matter how you go; dead’s dead” (Capote 191), followed by, “So why carry on like a sackful of sick cats just because Herb Clutter got his throat cut?” (Capote 191). Mrs. Clare is directly targeting the townspeople’s current attitude, and criticizing it for what it is, cowardness. Mrs. Clare’s nihilistic view sheds light on why Holcomb should not have a month long reaction to an incident that did not directly affect anyone other than relatives to the clutters or the clutters themselves. The monologue can be viewed as an expressions of Capote's thoughts on the matter, and the monologue is included to vent this opinion of
In the beginning of the book, Capote introduces everyone to the Clutter Family, and a few pages further into the book he introduces everyone to Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The Clutter family includes the Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their four wonderful children. The youngest are two teenagers Nancy and Kenyon, and the oldest two adult daughters known as Eveanna and Beverly. Capote describes these people as calm, loving church going, cherishable innocent people and have not done anything to hurt anyone. Capote describes Dick as an intelligent murderer. No one understands why Dick and Perry killed them, but on the other hand, he portrays Dick and Perry as the perfect murderers knowing how to get away with it. Dick is motivated by carnal impulses and he is the mastermind and investigator to the murders, he isn’t very educated but he is street-wise and charming. Perry on the other hand grew up with difficult circumstances, he was abandoned
Truman Capote, the author of In Cold Blood, creates sympathy for almost every character the reader comes across. Through the use of manipulating the reader's emotions and connecting them to each character, Capote successfully pulls it off. There are four main groups that Capote chooses to create sympathy for the murder victims, the murderers, the law officials involved, and the ordinary citizens of Holcomb, Kansas. Truman Capote created the most sympathy for two characters, Perry Smith and Detective Dewey.
Destiny and fate correlates with the theme that dreams will fail and die. Characters do not decide their destiny. However, they do decide their dreams. A character's fate and destiny affects their dreams. Whether their dreams come true or not, has many contributing factors. One being, their purpose in the world. One’s fate does not change, and it follows them throughout their entire life, affecting what they dream of and how they can accomplish all that they may dream of.
Throughout In Cold Blood, Truman Capote hints at his own opinion of the death penalty, yet lets the readers decide for themselves what they believe Hickock and Smith's punishment should have been. When the murderers are being hanged, a conversation occurs between a reporter and an investigator about what it might feel like to be hanged: "'They don't feel nothing. Drop, snap, and that's it. They don't feel nothing.' 'Are you sure? I was standing right close. I could hear him gasping for breath.' 'Uh-huh, but he don't feel nothing. Wouldn't be humane if he did'" (340). Furthermore, Capote includes the amount of time before Lowell Lee Andrews and Dick Hickock died. From the time of hanging to the time their hearts ceased beating, it took nineteen and twenty minutes, respectively. Also, in preparation for the trial of the Clutter family murderers, doctors did psychiatric evaluations of the pair. Capote includes what the doctors would have said had they been allowed to elucidate during the trial. The evaluations suggest that Hickock and Smith might have been better off in a mental institution. By including the conversation at the hangings, the elapsed time before death, and the doctors' unspoken evaluation, Capote suggests that neither the death penalty nor hanging is always the best course of action for a person's crime. Contrastingly, the opposite opinion is revealed through the character Alvin Dewey in the book. Capote writes about Dewey’s beliefs on the case: “[The Clutter family] had experienced prolonged terror, they had suffered. And Dewey
English is a fascinating and riveting language. Subtle nuances and adjustments can easily change the understanding of a literary work—a technique many authors employ in order to evoke a desired response from their readers. This method is used especially in In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a literary work which details a true event about the murders of four members of the Clutter family in the small community of Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Although Capote’s 1966 book was a bestseller nonfiction and had successfully garnered acclaim for its author, there is still a great deal of confusion about the distinction between the factual and fictional aspects in the book. Much
Fresh in the beginning of the chapter Capote uses a metaphor to present the horrors of what happened in the previous chapters and how it affects those around the. Capote starts out with explaining Herb Clutter 's close friends then he tells of something unusual to the norm, stating, “Today this quartet of old hunting companions had once again gathered to make the familiar journey, but in an unfamiliar spirit and armed with odd, non-sportive equipment - mops and pails, scrubbing brushes , and a hamper heaped with rags and strong detergents.”(Capote 77) They came with different equipment because they came for a different reason. To cleanup the mess left by the murderers. They felt that it was “their duty, a Christian task” to clean up the Clutter’s house but it is actually cleaning the town of the bloodshed and uncertainty the people of Holcomb have. The metaphor
Everybody has desires that constantly weigh over their heads, pushing them to be diligent in all their endeavors, but what would you do if you knew that one day you would no longer have the opportunity to fulfill these desires? Everybody lives their lives so focused on the end goal that they are oblivious to the world around them, and the sad part is that in some cases the end goal is unattainable or never reached because the person dies. In In Cold Blood, Truman Capote utilizes symbolism and descriptive diction to tell his readers Perry’s wants and wishes. Throughout this subchapter the reader is able to learn more about how Perry feels in the moments after the Clutter family murder. The reader learns that Perry wishes he was loved by others
My entire life has changed due to my kindness. Therefore, should I no longer be kind? Why offer my assistance to others if the outcome is penalization? These questions torment my mind; do I acknowledge what's happening around me, or should I just drive by? All I wanted to do was help people, and now, all I do is suffer. The morning was bleak and tinted with gray—not that I cared. I no longer had a place where I was needed, anyway. The day I lost my job was the day nothing mattered; it was as if the world had reached an impasse, and time would only flow where I wasn’t. How can someone be fired just for aiding those who need it? My thoughts have been embittered. My dreams for my family and I have been shattered. My life has become dulled.
Truman Capote uses variety of language devices to vividly develop Perry Smith in his novel In Cold Blood. These language devices include, diction, similes and symbolism.
How would you feel if you were on death row awaiting the inevitable? Would you feel as though you are deserving of this punishment or deserve the chance to live? As of January 1st, 2018 over 2,700 inmates are on death row. This means that they will be put to death at some point in the future. Many inmates are often on death row for more than a year which gives them time to reflect on what they have done and the pain it caused. Being on death row often prolongs the pain for the inmate. They spend their time in prison fearing the inevitable which for them is death. Today, we live in a society that is very divided on this issue. There are many in support of the death penalty, suggesting that it acts as a positive deterrent against future crime. There are also many
Capote also demonstrates his mastery over the ‘thriller and suspense’ genre, detailing the Clutter family’s everyday lives, emotions and experiences but with progressively higher levels of anticipation as the pages go by, employing versions of the omnipresent phrase, ‘and that was their last’ for dramatic effect. He also plays with expectations of the reader, and towards the end of the last chapter he breathlessly elevates