Imagery in in Cold Blood

876 Words May 5th, 2013 4 Pages
Truly successful authors have the ability to convey their view of a place without actually saying it, to portray a landscape in a certain light simply by describing it. In the opening paragraphs of In Cold Blood, Truman Capote does just this. Through his use of stylistic elements such as selection of detail, imagery, and figurative language, Capote reveals his own solemn and mysterious view of Holcomb, Kansas, while setting the stage for an imminent change.

Beginning in the first line of the passage, Capote selects the most boring details of life in the small town in order to portray its character. He draws attention to the physical isolation of Holcomb by referring to it as the place that "other Kansans call 'out there.'" In addition,
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In addition to including the most boring of details, Capote uses a great deal of imagery to describe the town and its residents. Focusing mostly on visual appeal, he describes the "sulphur-colored paint" and "flaking gold" to reveal the town's appearance and has-been status. Portraying the area as one that has seen better days, Capote writes about the "old stucco structure" that no longer holds dances, the crumbling post office, and the bank that now fails to serve its original purpose.” Combining visual imagery with hints of desolation, Capote attempts to reveal the gray and boring nature of the town through its appearance. He does not, however, rely only on visual details; in describing the local accent as "barbed with a prairie twang," he uses both auditory and visual appeal to make one imagine a ranch-hand's tone of voice and pattern of speech as he describes the events of his farming days. The "hard blue skies and desert-clear air" contribute to a feeling of emptiness, an emotional vacancy that seems omnipresent in the small town. Finally, even "the steep and swollen grain elevators" that represent the town's prosperity are seen in a solemn and mysterious light, as Capote makes certain to mention that the townspeople camouflage this abundance without explaining why they choose to do so.

Capote also uses a great deal of figurative language and contrasts to portray the small town as solemn and dead, yet somewhat

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