Although Capote conveys the Clutters as a simple mid western family, his primary purpose was to display how pivotal the Clutters were to the flow and function of Holcomb’s community, therefore; Capote asserts that everything in life is a chain reaction, nothing just affects one individual.
In In Cold Blood, Truman Capote conveys the message that the death penalty can be used wrongly and unjustly. Capote conveys through his novel that the way in which death penalty convicts are tried and convicted is unjust and that there should be a much more straight forward way in which they are convicted and sometimes sentenced to
Although, Holcomb is written as a picture-esque mid-west utopia in the first chapter of In Cold Blood, Capote uses personification, parallelism, and the inclusion of first hand accounts, to describe its shift from a neighborly society to one of locked doors in order to comment on how one event can completely alter a locations image.
English is a fascinating and riveting language. Subtle nuances and adjustments can easily change the understanding of a literary work—a technique many authors employ in order to evoke a desired response from their readers. This method is used especially in In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a literary work which details a true event about the murders of four members of the Clutter family in the small community of Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. Although Capote’s 1966 book was a bestseller nonfiction and had successfully garnered acclaim for its author, there is still a great deal of confusion about the distinction between the factual and fictional aspects in the book. Much
Throughout In Cold Blood, Truman Capote hints at his own opinion of the death penalty, yet lets the readers decide for themselves what they believe Hickock and Smith's punishment should have been. When the murderers are being hanged, a conversation occurs between a reporter and an investigator about what it might feel like to be hanged: "'They don't feel nothing. Drop, snap, and that's it. They don't feel nothing.' 'Are you sure? I was standing right close. I could hear him gasping for breath.' 'Uh-huh, but he don't feel nothing. Wouldn't be humane if he did'" (340). Furthermore, Capote includes the amount of time before Lowell Lee Andrews and Dick Hickock died. From the time of hanging to the time their hearts ceased beating, it took nineteen and twenty minutes, respectively. Also, in preparation for the trial of the Clutter family murderers, doctors did psychiatric evaluations of the pair. Capote includes what the doctors would have said had they been allowed to elucidate during the trial. The evaluations suggest that Hickock and Smith might have been better off in a mental institution. By including the conversation at the hangings, the elapsed time before death, and the doctors' unspoken evaluation, Capote suggests that neither the death penalty nor hanging is always the best course of action for a person's crime. Contrastingly, the opposite opinion is revealed through the character Alvin Dewey in the book. Capote writes about Dewey’s beliefs on the case: “[The Clutter family] had experienced prolonged terror, they had suffered. And Dewey
Everybody has desires that constantly weigh over their heads, pushing them to be diligent in all their endeavors, but what would you do if you knew that one day you would no longer have the opportunity to fulfill these desires? Everybody lives their lives so focused on the end goal that they are oblivious to the world around them, and the sad part is that in some cases the end goal is unattainable or never reached because the person dies. In In Cold Blood, Truman Capote utilizes symbolism and descriptive diction to tell his readers Perry’s wants and wishes. Throughout this subchapter the reader is able to learn more about how Perry feels in the moments after the Clutter family murder. The reader learns that Perry wishes he was loved by others
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a true story of a quadruple homicide in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas that greatly impacted the community in 1959. Capote begins his novel by introducing a prominent, well respected family in the community, the Clutters. The Clutters lived average everyday lives until they were abruptly ended at the mercy of a 12 gauge shotgun. The killers were two men unknown to the Clutters, who had two completely different backgrounds and personalities. By choosing to include details about each of the killers, Capote delineates the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths and suggests that the combination of the two personality disorders creates the environment for horrific
Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, effectively explores the effects of the Clutter family’s unexpected murder on the small community of Holcomb, Kansas. This unexpected murder had lasting and detrimental effects on the people of the town. Having been in Kansas during the time the trials and court cases had been executed, Capote observed that the murder had destroyed the community’s sense of trust, shattered their image of the American Dream, and prompted them to reevaluate their stance on the death penalty.
In In Cold Blood, Truman Capote used different rhetorical strategies to create sympathy and influence the idea that there are always two sides to every story. All throughout the book, Capote illustrated sympathetical emotion towards both types of characters, the protagonists and antagonists; Whereas in this case, Capote expressed the sides of the protagonist and antagonist.
Truman Capote’s novel, In Cold Blood epitomizes the shifting sentiments related to the murder of the Clutter family which range from terror, to sorrow, to pride, and all mixed emotions in between. Yet through Capote’s particular descriptions about each character, the connection between their feelings and their actions become further clarified. In effect, the readers experience feelings of sympathy for the victims, their friends and family, the investigators, and even the brutal murders of the innocent family. In order to craft this association, Capote employs a pathos appeal to amplify the audience’s ability to sympathize with each and every character. He succeeds in creating these complex personalities that many can relate to by using a myriad of tones to illustrate every aspect of those engaged, such as their childhood, their family, or their emotions. For instance, Bobby Rupp, Nancy’s boyfriend and Perry Smith, one of the slayers, represent two individuals who readers commiserate with due to their distinctive characterization.
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.
In Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, there is no hero. The protagonist is not a hero, nor the law enforcement. Heroism becomes irrelevant when searching for justice following a tragedy such as the one seen on November 15th, 1959 in Holcomb, Kansas. Complexity, next to justice, is primary to put into account during the aftershocks . Perry Smith is the protagonist in the novel, not only due to author’s bias but also due to his sheer dynamic, a man disconnected from word to action. The author portrays Perry Smith as the protagonist of the novel stress that there is no defined line of good and bad, rather a percentage in what is heard versus what is acted upon.
Murder can be defined as “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”. How then, are others able to make us sympathize with not only murderers, but people who have committed horrendous crimes? For example, the media is constantly attempting to humanize rapists and even terrorists with phrases like “lone wolf” or “alienated and adrift.” Such phrases make some of us want to pity the criminal. This can be seen when we compare Perry Smith and Dick Hickock from Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Capote portrays only one of these two seemingly distinct characters (Perry) in a way that the reader feels the need to relate to and even sympathize with him. One can be taken aback by such an attachment to a murderer. This is not surprising as the author uses his compassionate diction to manipulate the reader’s emotions with a use of pathos, the appeal to emotions. At one point Capote goes as far as to write that “Smith’s life had been no bed of roses,” (Capote 245) attempting to have the readers relate to Perry. On the other hand, Capote has Dick say this about himself: “Deal me out, baby, I’m a normal” (Capote 116). By using phrases such as these, Capote creates an unfavorable impression of Dick and and a biased tone. The same cannot be said for Perry as Capote produces an almost benevolent tone toward him with the help of pathos, “the most powerful appeal” (Noel, 2011).