Presentation Of Sympathy For Criminals

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Assessment 2:
Evocation of Sympathy for Criminals: The Effect of Sympathy on Justice in In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter
‘It is quite legitimate to hold the offender accountable for the suffering he has caused, but he himself has the right to be heard as well’
Boutellier here discusses the right the criminal has to be heard, but not the right they have to sympathy. Sympathy for criminals is an interesting device used in literature to give the reader a sense of injustice on their behalf. In contrast to Boutellier, this essay will consider how sympathy as a literary device is used to evoke sympathy for the condemned in In Cold Blood (1965) and Helter Skelter (1974). A few of the main questions I will be considering is how sympathy is created, and how the narration of it can influence whether the reader thinks the criminal has the right to sympathy. Following from this, I’ll also be looking at whether sympathy interferes with that is considered justice. Is justice for the victim automatically justice for the criminal? Does sympathy for the criminal effect this?
How sympathy is narrated and evoked is particularly interesting if you compare how differently it is done for the two murderers in In Cold Blood. Throughout, Capote uses bias narration to evoke sympathy for Perry. This can be seen simply through the contrasting physical descriptions he gives to both Dick and Perry. Dick’s eyes are described as ‘truly serpentine, with venomous, sickly-blue squint that although it was
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