Summary Of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, the infliction of capital punishment is a highly debated topic. With the main characters Perry Smith and Dick Hitchcock committing a vicious murder of an innocent family, the town fears that their lives will never be safe again. Due to this, the state of Kansas puts the murderers on death row to ensure the safety of others. Throughout the novel Truman Capote uses emotional appeal to make readers feel sorrow for the killers, so that the readers too will object to the use of the death penalty, but Catholic Church doctrines provide insight that qualifies the actions of the state of Kansas. Truman Capote’s account of Perry and Dick’s case and their sentence to death is completely biased, revealing …show more content…

This exemplifies Capote’s usage of emotional appeal to persuade his readers to object the death penalty. Using stories from the Perry Smith’s difficult childhood makes the reader have compassion for him, “... there was this one nurse, she used to call me ‘nigger’ and say there wasn’t any difference between niggers and Indians. . . What she used to do, she’d fill a tub with ice cold water, put me in it, and hold me under until I was blue.” (Capote 132) This is just one of Perry’s stories of his poor treatment during the time he stayed in an orphanage. Perry had a difficult childhood having to grow up with an abusive father and alcoholic mother. Capote uses this to his advantage because the reader slowly becomes more sympathetic towards Perry because of his personal hardships. Another way that Capote makes Dick and Perry seem like real people with relatable issues is that he describes their dreams and aspirations,“After he …show more content…

In the novel, many people feel that the death penalty should be inflicted on Dick and Perry because they fear for their safety, “I feel that due to the violence of the crime and apparent utter lack of mercy shown the victims, the only way the public can be absolutely protected is to have the death penalty set against these defendants. This is especially true since in Kansas there is no such thing as life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Persons sentenced to life imprisonment actually serve, on the average, less than fifteen years.” (Capote 257-258). Because of the possibility that Dick and Perry could be released from prison, many people felt threatened. Dick and Perry had already once been in prison due to nonviolent charges, but when they were released for parole, they conducted a mass murder. The Catholic Church’s point of view is in correspondence with many in the book, “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor” (Catholic Church 2306). The Catholic Church does not fully support the death penalty, it is only used as a last resort. The Catholic Church does not believe that capital

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