The American Dream In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In the book, “In Cold Blood,” Truman Capote takes us through the lives of the murderers and the murdered in the 1959 Clutter family homicide, which transpires in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. The first chapter, “The Last to See Them Alive,” vividly illustrates the daily activities of the Clutter family—Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon—and the scheming plot of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith up to point where the family is found tied up, and brutally murdered. In doing so, he depicts the picture-perfect town of Holcomb with “blue skies and desert clear air”(3) whose safety is threatened when “four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives”(5). Through the eyes of a picture perfect family and criminals with social aspirations, Capote describes the American Dream and introduces his audience to the idea that this ideal was no more than an illusion. Herbert Clutter: the character Capote describes as the epitome of the American Dream. At age forty-eight, Mr. Clutter was prosperous, morally inclined, religious, with four successful children, and a twenty five year marriage to his sweetheart. He was one of the most-well known and respected individuals in Holcomb as a result of a hard work, but even then, he hadn’t achieved perfection, rather, he lived behind the mask of the town’s perception. To them, Mr. Clutter achieved the idyllic lifestyle of the American Dream; he had the land, the wealth, the status, but his wife, Bonnie Clutter, suffered from

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