Cold Blood Character Analysis

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote takes a brave deviation from the mainstream of murder or crime novels in that it takes the perspective of the perpetrators of the crime in question. Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were two particularly perverse individuals who were hung for the murder of the Clutter family. The two lack virtually any relatability to the casual reader, however, Capote manages to evaluate the six weeks following November 14th, 1959 in such an analytical depth that the reader may even begin to sympathize with the duo. The men are portrayed by Capote through a journalistic and impartial description that enhances the reader's understanding of the two by going into trivial details. Dick and Perry are two individuals from conflicting…show more content…
To do what we did.”(114) Capote deepens the divide between the pair by showing Perry’s haunting remorse of his acts and Dick’s utter glee at the proposition of gruesomely ending the lives of innocents for his own gain. Though the two are such contrasting characters it seems that the two would be the types to commit such an act as heinous as murdering a family in their own home for a sum of fifty dollars. A psychiatric evaluation of the two by Dr. Mitchell W. Jones reveals that Dick showed signs of “emotional abnormality” which likely would have been sparked by brain damage inflicted on him from a car accident in his childhood. Prior to the accident Dick was a fantastic student and athlete with potential for a future. Perry, however, was done in by his upbringing and life before the massacre. Dr. Jones said that though Perry had an above average intellect, however, due to a history of neglect, abuse, and trauma Perry had developed a “poorly controlled rag”, and was “easily triggered by any feeling of being tricked, slighted or labeled inferior to others.”. Perry’s personality traits were suiting of a paranoid…show more content…
Every Holcombite had concocted some form of a theory relating as to what could inspire an individual or individuals to commit an act so odious as to murder the Clutters. Overtime Capote reveals the diverging motives of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. Though in the beginning the two were equally driven by greed and the promise of a safe stocked with cash, their motives gradually began to reach a point of divergence. Dick sought personal riches, he wanted to obtain a hefty amount of capital so he would be capable of becoming financially afloat enough to return to his first wife. Perry originally pursued a similar set of motives, however, it seems as if the Clutters had become a way for Perry to relieve himself from decades of neglect and frustration. While Perry makes his verbal confession to Alvin Dewey he admits his own confusion as to why he carried out the attack, “I didn't have anything against them, and they never did anything wrong to me--the way other people have all my life. Maybe they're just the ones who had to pay for it."(302). . Capote deepens the divide between Dick Hickock and Perry Smith best in Perry’s verbal confession and the retelling of the night of November 14th 1959. It's almost as if Bonnie’s discussion with Perry is a perfect catalyst for how Capote thought of the two. Bonnie expresses how she knew Dick was the one who had the truly sinister intentions,
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