Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

Better Essays

Literature attempts to shape or reflect society, and oftentimes literature reveals truths and provides insight into the condition of that society. The American Dream is a dominant theme in American literature, and in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, the idealistic dream is critically evaluated. In this paper, I will explain the context of the work, and then I will compare and contrast Dick any Perry (the murderers) with the Clutter family (the murdered) in relation to the theme of the fragility of the American Dream. Capote wrote what he considered to be the first nonfiction novel. Simply defined a nonfiction novel is one in which an event is reported using traditional literary and rhetorical conventions to expose broader truths …show more content…

With the same command of language and imagery, Capote details the success of the agricultural community who had for “…the last seven years…[experienced] droughtless beneficence (5). In essence, the community has experienced much success financially. Capote provides further interpretation of the community’s success: “The farm ranchers in Finney County, of which Holcomb is a part, have done well; money has been made not from farming alone but also from the exploitation of plentiful natural-gas resources... its acquisition is reflected in the new school, the comfortable interiors of the farmhouses, the steep and swollen grain elevators” (5). The society which Luce discusses in his 1941 essay, one which represents ‘the abundant life,’…produced by ‘free economic enterprise’” (qtd. in Foner 863), is representative of Holcomb. In essence, the citizens of Finney County were, for the most part, living the idealistic American life. The Clutter family represents the ideal American family, one that has attained the American Dream. Capote takes great care to describe the family, the farm on which they live, and their influence on the community which surrounds them. According to the text, Mr. Clutter has accumulated much wealth as a farmer, having a pile of milo-grain that is worth more

Get Access