Mental Imagery In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In the reality-based novel In Cold Blood written by American novelist Truman Capote, Capote utilizes juxtaposing polysyndeton, hypersensitive pathos, and sympathetic logos to paint convicted murderer Perry as the victim of a mental illness rather than a cold-blooded killer. Throughout the novel, Capote strategically persuades the reader that Perry is more of a victim than a perpetrator. Capote employs juxtaposing polysyndeton when he illustrates how Perry actually feels compared to how everyone else thinks he feels. Before committing the crime, Perry and his accomplice Dick consume a feast filled to the brim with heavy foods and treats, “They ordered two steaks medium rare, baked potatoes, French fries, fried onions, succotash, side dishes of macaroni and hominy, salad with Thousand Island dressing, cinnamon rolls, apple pie and ice cream, and coffee” (53). While the reader may think this is a sign of normalcy for a criminal to treat their intended robbery like a celebration they are about to attend, for Perry it’s a vision of mental instability. In an effort to distract himself, Perry appears to order heaps of food with the dragged on sentence listing what he received. This food provides comfort. However, this is only temporary. The fleeting feeling of joy will soon be filled with guilt. Dick will not feel any remorse. He is completely unattached. But Perry, a victim of bipolar disorder, will go through feelings of euphoria leading up to the intended robbery to extreme discomfort after he managed to kill two members of the Clutter family. He later explains this feeling, “Spells of helplessness occurred, moments when he 'remembered things’—blue light exploding in a black room, the glass eyes of a big toy bear—and when voices a particular few words started nagging his mind: ‘Oh, no! Oh, please! No! No! No! No! Don’t! Oh, please don’t, please!” (110). The reader can examine how Perry goes through extreme highs and lows as a result of his illness. This elicits sympathy for the convicted murderer. In addition, Capote depicts hypersensitive pathos to draw out the compassion of the readers because he wants them to understand the complex layers that make up Perry’s brain. Perry is not a simple murderer. He has
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