Perry Smith In John Steinbeck's In Cold Blood

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In the gripping novel In Cold Blood, the protagonist, Perry Edward Smith, is depicted as a good-spirited person, who is strongly influenced by the people who are the closest to him. Those three people are his father, his mother, and his partner in crime Dick Hickock. His father denies him of an education and treats him like a slave. His mother never loves him and never shows him how to love others. And Dick, takes control of Perry’s vulnerability and leads him into doing awful things. Each of those relationships impact him negatively, and in the end, lead him to murder an innocent family and lose his life because of it.

Although Perry loves his father, John “Tex” Smith, more than anyone else, the relationship is an intimate, toxic, love-hate …show more content…

Although Dick’s childhood has been much more “fortunate” than Perry’s, Dick still grows up to be the more immoral, and cold-hearted human being. For instance, the day after Dick and Perry had murdered the Clutter family, Perry feels very remorseful and cannot get out of bed while Dick simply carries on as if nothing had happened, and visits him parents’ house: “Perry had merely fallen face down across the bed, as though sleep were a weapon that had struck him from behind… A few miles north, in the pleasant kitchen of a modest farmhouse, Dick was consuming a Sunday dinner… his mother, his father, his younger brother—were not conscious of anything uncommon in his manner” (73). Dick is an absolute sociopath; that is not fazed by murder or anything. Sadly, the reader understands that Perry becomes very attracted to Dick’s “dominance” and “manliness” when the two speak about their relationship: “Its because [Perry] wanted Dick’s friendship, wanted dick to ‘respect’ him, think him ‘hard,’ as much ‘the masculine type’ as he had considered Dick to be… ‘I’ve come to trust you, Dick. You’ll see I do, because I’m going to put myself in your power’” (111). Perry’s relationships with his father makes him feel incapable of making his own decisions and longing for someone to take control him. Therefor, Perry gives Dick control of himself. Certainly, the biggest influence Dick has on Perry’s actions, is convincing him to rob and murder the Clutter family with him. The reader is made aware of this when Floyd Wells, (Dick’s past cell mate and former worker for the Clutters), informs the authorities that Dick had told him about his plans to murder the Clutter family and that they were identical to the way it had happened: “[Dick] described to me a dozen times how he was gonna do it, how him and Perry was gonna tie them people up and gun them

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