Nature vs. Nurture in in Cold Blood Essay

2044 Words Nov 16th, 2011 9 Pages
The Effects of Ones Environment in In Cold Blood On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, a family of four was brutally murdered by shotgun blasts only a few inches from their faces. The protagonist of the story, Perry Smith, a man with a troubled past, is the one responsible for committing these murders. In framing the question nature versus nurture, Capote’s powerfully written account of the Clutter family killings asks whether a man alone can be held responsible for his actions when his environment has relentlessly neglected him; Perry Smith is a prime example. He is an intelligent, talented, and sensitive human being, who has been warped and rejected by society and his environment, and therefore cannot be held …show more content…
The Clutter family never harms Perry in any way, unlike other people throughout his life, however the Clutters are the ones who have to pay for it. As a child Perry grew up with a limited education. When he is young and after his parent’s divorce Perry is living with his dad and is going to school. He finishes grade three but after that he never returns. Perry’s father moves from state to state throughout his childhood and prevents Perry from returning to school. Perry’s father wants Perry to stay with him instead of going to school so he can do work and take care of him. As Perry grows older however he understands that his father kept him out of school and Perry becomes extremely angry with him. Smith stated, “That bastard never gave me a chance. He wouldn’t let me go to school…. he didn’t want me to learn anything, only how to tote and carry for him. Dumb. Ignorant. That’s the way he wanted me to be. So that I could never escape him” (Capote 185). However, Perry is an intelligent and talented man with great potential. He has natural music ability, he likes to read and improve his vocabulary, and he also knows how to draw. In spite of this he never received encouragement from his father or anyone else: “Oh, the man I could have been! ... But the time came I begged to go to school. I happen to have a brilliant
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