Language Devices In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

908 Words4 Pages

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. Throughout the novel diction is used to develop Perry Smith’s character, and suggest reasons for the murder. When Smith explains what happened that night at the Clutter’s family home, he tells agent Alvin Dewey about his moment with Nancy Clutter. The phrase "[He] pulled up the covers, tucked her in…" expresses a calm and cozy tone which contrasts with the situation. This implies that even though Smith will murder her in cold blood, he still is considerate enough to make her feel safe. The diction of the word “prolific one” puts emphasis on that Smith was not a compulsive …show more content…

The phrase "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman… right up to the moment I cut his throat”, is ironic as no one intends to kill someone who is a "nice gentleman." This is symbolic as well, due to the fact that Perry and Dick had no motive for the murder, it was more of their own frustration of the values and lifestyle of the Clutter family. They desired the American Dream, but could never achieve it thus taking out their bitterness on a family whose life seemed impeccable. The Golden Parrot is the novel's most important symbol and has a lot of meaning to Perry. In the phrase "[Perry] is saved from the snake by a golden parrot," the parrot could symbolize a parent figure; his father who even though was absent for half of Perry’s childhood. The parrot "saves" Perry emotionally. On the other hand the parrot can represent Christianity, even though Perry never considered himself to be a religious man. For Christians Jesus is the only god, but in this case the parrot is greater than Jesus, has more power than god, this is shown in this quote “[Is] ‘taller than Jesus, yellow like a sunflower." The parrot is taking Perry to the afterlife; the parrot is Perry’s god. The color of the bird is yellow which symbolizes happiness and hope, the hope he has of a better life. Whenever Perry experienced something awful the parrot appears and saves him, an example of this is the phrase "…an avenging angel who savaged his enemies or... rescued him in moments of mortal danger." The bird could symbolize Perry escaping from his problematic life into a simpler life. Truman Capote uses variety of language devices such as diction, similes and symbolism to vividly develop Perry Smith in his novel In Cold Blood and reveal aspects of the murder. Perry Smith is a sensitive, somewhat frightening and psychologically unstable character, but then again

Show More
Open Document