Truman Capote Writing Style Analysis

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Many contemporary authors attempt with varying amounts of success to emulate the captivating style of Truman Capote. Through a complex and fine balance between bleak melodrama and noir suspense, Capote’s voice is particularly well captured in his 1966 crime fiction, In Cold Blood. Within the first 5 paragraphs of the work, Truman Capote firmly establishes a notable distaste yet careful curiosity for Holcomb, Kansas - the novel’s primary setting - by utilizing an apathetically negative tone and long-winded syntax sprinkled with vivid imagery of the town’s worst features.
Capote’s primary strategy for conveying his point of view on the town is his detached yet empirically negative tone. He displays a lack of attachment for the town, reporting
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A majority of the opening paragraphs consist of long sentences composed of many short clauses. Truman utilizes these long sentences with particular effectiveness when describing the town 's population: “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 toes.” This diction is quite obvious when attention is called to it, but serves a subtle purpose in the context of the work: it slows the reader’s pace. The short clauses and abundant commas force the reader to adopt a slow rhythm while reading the sentences, paralleling Truman’s view on the daily uneventful lives of the townsfolk. In addition, it allows him to to call attention to the imagery of the denizens. Through this structure, he paints a picture of Holcomb as a tired and worn-out village, where life plays out at a predictable pace.
The question remains, why does Truman put in so much effort to paint such a bleak image of his setting? By adopting such a disinterested distaste for the town, the author is able to subvert expectations as complications begin in the town. The plot of the novel revolves around the murder of a prolific family in the town, an event that shocks a populous that rarely experiences any significant event at
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