Realism In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Imagine being a new family in the town of Holcomb, a quaint, remote town located about 450 miles west of Kansas. What would be the first things in which you notice about the community? Would it be the lack of paved roads? The fact that the majority of the buildings here are dilapidated and vacant? Or perhaps you realize that the town doesn't even have a working telephone line? Such questions are brought up by Author Truman Capote in his acclaimed novel, In Cold Blood which follows the lives of those involved in the murder of a family inhabiting Holcomb. Truman Capote intends to create as realistic a town as possible through the use of rhetorical devices, most of which are prevalent within the first few pages of the book. Such description of…show more content…
Truman wanted the reader to truly understand what the town of Holcomb was, what it looked like and felt like. Truman is able to achieve such feelings through short, frequent and accurate descriptions such as, “an aimless congregation of buildings divided in the center by the main-line tracks of the Santa Fe Railway,” “The streets, unnamed, unshaded, unpaved,” and “the depot itself, with its peeling sulphur-colored paint” (3-4). These descriptions are clear cut examples of imagery, words, and phrases to get the reader to picture the town within their heads in order to help them create more detailed inferences and assumptions. Although repetitive, the point cannot be stressed enough that Truman intends not only to create vivid and realistic images within the minds of his audience but to also allow them to make less constricted assumptions and judgments, not only for the town of Holcomb but for the people as well. Truman describes the people of Holcomb by saying, “The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed shoes”(3-4). Truman’s description of the people shares many if not all of the same reasons as the description of the
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