An Analysis Of Nature Vs. Nurture In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Nature versus nurture is one of the most controversial debates in contemporary psychology. The debate concerning whether or not humans are born with the preset characteristics that will shape lives for years to come or whether actions are a result of the events and the environment that pave the way for our behavioral characteristics. Capote’s “In Cold Blood” gives the audience a detailed look into the upbringing of the character Perry Smith, creating a sympathetic outlook towards his past and attempting to bring a sense of understanding as to how a seemingly harmless young man could brutally murder four innocent people. In the case of Perry Smith, nurture was the cause of his actions in regards to the Clutter family murders.
Perry’s actions
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Everyone is born with the capability to do evil, however, the events and environment in our lives shape our psyche to such an irrefutably extreme extent that they define our character and our conscience, redefining what we see as right and wrong. Perry is very sensitive by nature due to his family’s troubles and his father’s behavior. The pressure that Perry feels to impress Dick, who he makes into a faux father figure, combined with the weight of his past push him to the breaking point which happens to be the Clutter murders. Perry was bound by his experience, he could never fully escape the horrors of his childhood as they were the limits of his apprehension. Regardless of Perry’s traumatic childhood, justice must be equally upheld to everyone, despite the differences in the ways we were raised. While nurture may be the primary factor in deciding why Perry did what he did, his childhood does not excuse him from being prosecuted the the full extent of the law.
The controversial debate of nature versus nurture may never be fully solved, however it is clear in the case of Perry Smith that his surroundings were the primary cause of his motivation to kill the Clutter family. Between his abusive family and the inmates at the Kansas State Penitentiary, the emotions convening inside of Perry fell too much to bear. Perry was a victim of his environment and projected the rejection he felt onto

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