Criminality In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Merging journalistic and literary storytelling with its unparalleled insight into the nature of criminality in twentieth century American culture, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote’s nonfiction masterpiece epitomizes the loss of naiveté of a small Kansas town, while it undermines the principle ideals of the American Dream——safety, security, and opportunity for prosperity and individualism——through the victimization of the achievers of this mythical, yet idealized belief, such as the Clutter family. Through the portrayal of the tragic ends of three different families (the Clutters, the Hickocks, and the Smiths) regardless of their position on the path to the American Dream, Capote shatters the popular image of perfection that most Americans strove …show more content…

The Clutter family’s relationship with the American Dream seems more manifest than the families of the two killers. Through their murder, Capote hints at the destruction of the ultimate American Dream, an idea unfathomable to most. As so aptly put by a schoolteacher “…That family represented everything people hereabouts really value and respect, and that such a thing could happen to them- well, it’s like being told there is no God” (Capote 55). Through their violent end, Capote demonstrates the impossibility and naiveté of the American Dream; becoming society’s interpretation of the perfect family remains merely an illusion, rather than a protection from all the evil things that can occur in life. Capote exemplifies the Clutters as the concept of the American Dream, conveying social and personal virtues along with financial stability. Herb Clutter was a standing member of the community, who “was known for his equanimity, his charitableness, and the fact that he paid good wages” (Capote 6). But as Andy Erhart inquires “how was it possible that such effort, such plain virtue, could overnight be reduced to this-smoke…received by the big, annihilating sky? (Capote

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