Narrative Style of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

677 Words 3 Pages
In Cold Blood - Narrative Style

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 victims, the murderers, the victims, the murderers,...-- this is the pattern throughout the first two of the three parts of In Cold Blood. During these first two parts of the
…show more content…
This nonfiction work is for the most part unbiased. Capote's extensive research on this real-life event is not marred by his own personal feelings about the crime committed. The fact that he tells both sides of the story adds to the objectivity. Capote doesn't render judgment for two reasons: it is important for the reader to draw conclusions about the "philosophical-sociological-psychological circumstances of the mass murder," and Capote concluded that there should be no interference with the readers' judgmental process (Reed 107). The narrator, up to the criminals' day of execution, shows no bias whatsoever; the trial could have been an easy opportunity for the narrator to express his own opinions on how the criminals should be punished. Capote is adamant in giving the facts to the reader directly and letting the reader formulate his or her own opinion. For example, of the death sentence, Capote writes, "In March 1965, after [Perry] Smith and [Dick] Hickock had been confined in their death row cells almost two thousand days, the Kansas Supreme Court decreed that their lives must end between midnight and 2:00 A.M., Wednesday, April 14, 1965" (336).

The third person point of view also reaffirms Capote's neutrality. In addition, this viewpoint adds credibility to the piece of literature because there are few, if any, dissenting opinions of
Open Document