Nature Vs. Nurture In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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America’s first prominent serial killer of the 19th century, H. H. Holmes famously wrote amongst his series of murder confessions, "I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing." He reasons—in an increasingly morbid comparison—that the root of murder and evil is innate, for nature itself had instilled the tendency and drive into his very being. Nowhere more acutely is this theme simultaneously displayed and countered than in Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel In Cold Blood (1965). In its entirety, through a plethora of narrations spanning the event of the murders and the following investigation, Capote crafts his story of the Clutter family murders on November…show more content…
nurture debate. Yet, he applies his reasoning not in a manner that concludes the prominence of one over the other, but in which Capote ultimately qualifies a murderer (or a mere criminal) as a product of the interaction between his environment as well as his genetics—consequently labeling this a seemingly tragic fate in itself. Amongst the world of psychology, the nature-nurture issue is defined as “the longstanding controversy over the relative contributions that genes and experience make to the development of psychological traits and behaviors,” in which today’s scientific minds see traits and behaviors arising from the simultaneous interaction of both nature and nurture (Myers 9). Rooted and intertwined into essentially every underlying concept and thought-process debated and agreed upon in the psychological sphere, scientists as well as ancient thinkers have long contested the prominence of one’s influence over the other. This persisting debate is seen throughout the centuries in Plato’s original belief of inborn and inherent character and intelligence, Aristotle’s counter that all ideas of the mind come from external
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