Word Choice In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In Cold Blood, written by Truman Capote in 1966 tells the story of the murder of a prominent family in 60’s Kansas. Capote traveled to the small town of Holcomb, and befriended many of the townsfolk and the detectives involved in the trial to tell the story of a violent event that shaped this community for the decade until the eventual conviction and execution of the killers. Because of information being told, Capote makes the choice of writing his novel as if it were a news report. This journalistic structure and word choice helps to establish the serious and dark tone of the novel. In the beginning of the book, one of the first things Capote does is establish the setting. He describes the way Holcomb was before the murders and the way it was after. “At the time not a soul in sleeping Holcomb heard the - four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives” (5). One of the most effective choices Capote makes to retell this real life event is word choice. There is something haunting about the way that he writes “ended six human lives”. That specific phrasing can make someone’s skin crawl, and sounds like something one would find in a coroner’s report rather than a novel. Later, Capote goes on to talk about what happened to the townsfolk after, and how it was almost…show more content…
It was something that he felt passionate about, and wanted it to be taken seriously. Murder is something that is not to be taken lightly, but Capote approaches the difficult topic with precision and care. If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t have been as detailed or as specific with his writing. That is why the novel was written in the style of a newspaper article rather than a story. That journalistic structure is part of what makes this book so dark. It is what makes the reader understand the story and feel the gravity of what happened to these people. That tone makes the reader understand that this could happen to almost
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