Truman Capote writes a genius book about a real murder that happened and he tore the case apart to find out every detail that happened in the crime. In Cold Blood is about two men who almost get away with a hostile murder of a family. How a lead detective on the case gets so pressured about finding these men. It is also about the anxiety that these murders put on the killers because one of them is afraid they are going to get caught. The town that turns on each other and locks their doors at night and prays no one comes in. Capote’s purpose in this book was sympathizing with the killer and all the other people in the book, also in the book he presents foreshadowing, and Pathos, he has many other Rhetorical Strategies but these are the important Strategies.
For centuries, men and women have murdered each other for greed, lust, revenge, etc. However, in 1959, Truman Capote traveled to Holcomb, Kansas to discover the other side of murder. Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood, offers a close examination of the horrid murder of the Clutter family. He explored how two men of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and personalities joined together to kill an innocent family for riches. Capote provides different points of view through each of his character’s eyes for his readers’ better understanding of the murderers. The use of juxtaposition compares and contrasts Dick to Perry, the murders. Capote succeeds with using juxtaposition to reveal the murderer's how he perceived them.
Besides using anecdotes and stories from his childhood, Capote also used analogies to invoke a sense of sympathy for Perry, thus further using the means of pathos. In specific, a constant ‘comparison’ or analogy coupled with Perry is typically his ‘childish’ like structure. Short legs, small feet. This analogy is used constantly, including the hanging scene, where it is said Dewey had “open his eyes [and] saw the same childish feet, tilted, dangling”(Capote 341). This comparison is seen often when describing Perry and seems to give the man a childlike presence, making him come across as more innocent and understandable. This connection to Perry takes away from the ‘severity’ of his actions and instead reminds readers of his childhood and how it has affected him all through life. Using pathos to soften the personality of a killer and bring to life his struggles helped Capote to better exemplify the ‘makings’ of a murderer. When creating this book, Capote wanted to analyze how a murder came to be and thus how a murderer came to exist - in particular, Perry. The use of pathos in correlation to one of the main characters helped break down the hostile killer into a damaged, young, sensible young man who simply had a tough go at life. The device allowed for connection and personalization.
Aren’t we all a bit crazy at times? In Truman Capote’s rhetorical masterpiece, In Cold Blood, is about a murder that actually occurred in a small town in Kansas. Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, also known as Dick and Perry, are the criminal minds behind the murder. Capote’s work is regarded to as a masterpiece because he uses many rhetorical devices to convey his message. He uses rhetorical devices such as diction, imagery and pathos. Capote’s purpose for writing the book is to show the insights of what goes on in these two’s criminal minds and to humanize Perry.
Capote's structure in In Cold Blood is a subject that deserves discussion. The book is told from two alternating perspectives, that of the Clutter family who are the victims, and that of the two murderers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The different perspectives allow the reader to relive both sides of the story; Capote presents them without bias. Capote masterfully utilizes the third person omniscient point of view to express the two perspectives. The non-chronological sequencing of some events emphasizes key scenes.
The dynamic partnership between Dick and Perry stems from their egos, or lack thereof. Perry is especially self-conscious, and his behavior as presented in the book is due to his sense of lacking and
Capote uses Perry as a sympathetic character; asking the reader if Perry’s life had been easier growing up, would he have committed the murders? A point often overlooked is Capote’s detailed exploration into Perry’s childhood and life
The chronicles of Perry’s past that Capote includes in the novel create a sense of pity for Perry in the reader’s perspective. Perry admits to Dewey in the car, while traveling to the Holcomb jail, that he “didn’t feel I ought to ask him[Mr. Clutter] to stretch out on the cold floor, so I dragged the mattress box over, flattened it, and told him to lie down” (241). Compassion and thoughtfulness indirectly characterize Perry because of his unnecessary actions toward keeping Mr. Clutter comfortable in his last moments alive. Perry
Truman Capote saw Perry as being superior to others in his uniqueness and, since he is “absent” from the novel, expressed this opinion in Willie-Jay’s character accounts of Perry. After asserting Willie-Jay’s legitimacy, Capote presents the farewell letter that Willie-Jay wrote to Perry. In it, Willie-Jay analyzes Perry in a psychologist-like manner; he writes:
Capote talks about the lives of both killers previous to the murders in fairly significant detail. In the case of Perry Smith, his parents divorced early in his childhood and neither his mother nor father really wanted him. This produced feelings of abandonment and uselessness early on in Perry and affected the rest of his life. Capote brings up a letter written to the Kansas State Penitentiary about Perry by Perry's father, who was trying to have Perry paroled for a previous crime he had committed. Perry says that "this biography always set racing a series of emotions--self pity in the lead, love and hate evenly at first, the latter ultimately pulling ahead" (130). Perry didn't feel as though his father ever knew him very well, or even wanted to know him. He says, "whole sections of my Dad was ignorant of. Didn't understand an iota of...I had this great natural musical ability. Which Dad didn't recognize. Or care about...I never got any encouragement from him or anybody else" (133). When Perry's father threw him out of the house one evening because his father could no longer afford to have Perry live with him, Perry lost his sense of direction in life. He even says
In the final months of 1959, the Clutter family was brutally murdered in their Holcomb, Kansas, home. Reports of their murders made national news. One of these headlines captured the attention of Truman Capote who chose to pursue the story further; eventually, after years of research and thousands of pages of notes, he penned In Cold Blood. It was first published in 1966, and it found immediate success. Capote’s original storytelling methods combined with the sensationalism of the crime was instrumental in creating, at the very least, popularizing a new genre: creative nonfiction. Utilizing unique narrative structure and author-tainted character development, Capote weaves a tale that questions the authenticity, the intent, and the meaning of justice.
Imagine two people, both the same race, both the same gender, and they both committed the same crime. The two people are on trial for their crime, but instead of getting the same punishment, one gets the death penalty while the other gets 15 years. To think that the outcome should be the same, however there are more than one factors that play into a person receiving the death penalty and they are not always considered fair. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, displays a situation where Perry Smith commits a violent crime, and is charged with the death penalty instead of serving years in prison. Some might argue that his crime was vicious enough for him to receive death, but who gave them the power to decide whether to take someone’s life?
The captivating story of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a beautifully written piece describing the unveiling of a family murder. This investigative, fast-paced and straightforward documentary provides a commentary of such violence and examines the details of the motiveless murders of four members of the Clutter family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers. As this twisted novel unravels, Capote defines the themes of childhood influences relevant to the adulthood of the murderers, opposite personalities, and nature versus nurture.