Literary Techniques In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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The non-fiction novel ‘In Cold Blood’ interestingly begins as a fiction novel would-with the author setting up the scene of the gruesome quadruple murder about to take place, unbeknownst to the victims. Capote describes the isolated flatlands of rural Kansas, and introduces the victims and their killers as if they were the main characters of a fictional murder mystery. What immediately struck me is how Capote uses literary techniques like the simultaneous narration of the lives of the killers and victims, and the fragmented retelling of the story not specifically in the order of events, which makes the story read more like a work of fiction than of pure journalism. As one gets engrossed in the book, it gets easier to forget that the story is based on truth and is not just a fictional story born in Capote’s head. 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…show more content…
Examples include Mr Cutter buying life insurance less than 24 hours before he dies, and Nancy writing down the day’s events in her diary. I found that especially heartbreaking, because it shows us how fragile life really is, From Nancy’s point of view, she just notes down the boring uneventful happenings of the day, but after she has been tragically murdered, the readers know the value of those small, uneventful happenings. In a way, Nancy’s diary is a metaphor for the hopes and aspirations of the family they never will never get to fulfil. Nancy writes down her feelings and hopes for a later day, but that day never
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