Analysis of Murder in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood

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Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood documents the homicide of the Clutter family, the search for the killers, and the trial and execution of the two convicted murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Capote gives a detailed insight into the lives of the four Clutters prior to their untimely deaths, focusing primarily on the daughter, Nancy Clutter. In his description of Nancy, Capote utilizes rhetorical strategies, such as imagery, parenthesis, and allusion, to give the audience a more intimate appeal in the life of the young girl, thus providing a more emotional impact upon the reader. Capote’s accounts of Nancy’s life are immersed in imagery. Remarking that her room is the “most personal room in the house—girlish, and as frothy as a ballerina’s tutu,” Capote elaborates by speculating that her room’s “walls, ceiling, and everything else…were pink or blue or white.” He further illustrates the assortment of items in Nancy’s room, observing that “a cork bulletin board, painted pink, hung above a white-skirted dressing table; dry gardenias, the remains of some ancient corsage, were attached to it, and old valentines, newspaper recipes, and snapshots of her baby nephew and of Susan Kidwell and of Bobby Rupp, Bobby caught in a dozen actions…” Capote then goes on to describe Nancy’s nighttime “beauty routine, a cleansing, creaming ritual, which on Saturday nights included washing her hair.” The imagery abundant in the story’s excerpt portrays Capote’s emotional ties to the Clutter

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