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
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" is the story of Perry and Dick and the night of November 15, 1959. This investigative, fast-paced and straightforward documentary provides a commentary on the nature of American violence and examines the details of the motiveless murders of four members of the Clutter family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers.
Despite this claim of Mrs. Clutter, Capote gave the readers glimpses into the Clutter’s home their daily life and their last day alive; the book shows scenes of Mr. Clutter at the breakfast table, Kenyon working in the basement on his sister’s hope chest, and Nancy laying out her clothes for Sunday morning- the clothes she will be buried in. Simultaneously, Capote effortlessly weaves in illustrated scenes of the murders, Perry Smith and Dick Hickok, on their ominous journey to the Clutter’s family farm.
The Clutter family is written in a fashion to show they were the normal American family and by fate were entangled with killers (Hollowell 83). Hollowell states, Capote creates a "mythic dimension" through this portrayal (83). The dimension shows the reader how this crime completely disturbs the community of Holcomb and an
Capote goes to great lengths to show that the townspeople viewed the Clutter family as an ideal American family. Mr. Herbert Clutter was the most successful farmer in Holcomb: "He was, however, the community's most widely known citizen, prominent both there and in Garden City, the close dash by county seat..." (6). Capote details his numerous
Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood with the intention of creating a new non-fiction genre, a creative spin on a newspaper article with the author, and his opinions and judgments completely absent from the text, leaving only the truth for the reader to interpret. The pages of In Cold Blood are filled with facts and first-hand accounts of the events surrounding the brutal murder of a wealthy unsuspecting family in Holcomb, Kansas. Author Truman Capote interviewed countless individuals to get an accurate depiction of every one affected by and every side of the murder. Although he declares himself an unbiased and opinion-free author, based on the extensive descriptions of one of the murderers, Perry Smith, there is much debate about this
Literature, the dictionary defines it being the art of written works that is simultaneously designed to entertain, educate and instruct its audience; writers, using their skill of telling stories, use literature in an attempt to transfer their ideas from paper to the reader; for some, this task means bringing their story to a different place and time that is entirely separate from what the could be perceive as ordinary, on order to serve the writer’s intent. With this, the impossible, becomes the probable, and the worst fear imagined becomes the breathed reality; with no separation between the truth, and fiction. The word “literature” in itself cannot be accurately defined, and by attempting to do so, it limits the word not only in its
Conflict, in the beginning of the book Capote starts sympathizing with the Clutter’s family last day alive. Capote used a strong sentence to give us a point of where we are in the book. In the book it says, “Then, touching the brim of his cap, he headed for home and the day’s work, unaware that it would be his last.”(15) He tells us who the family was murdered. In the beginning of the book it is easy to confuse that Mr. Clutter was the murderer. Then, In Cold Blood the author, Capote, uses many foreshadowing in his book. One in specific is a extremely strong foreshadowing. In the text, “Four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives.”(5) American Novelist, Capote, exploits foreshadowing in his book. He takes
Truman Capote 's In Cold Blood is a stupendously written book, regularly acclaimed for it 's unparalleled style. As needs be, readers mustn 't look exceptionally far before they discover a surplus of rhetoric. Capote is regularly credited with having made the first crime novel, and he didn 't get this praise by composing such as others. He utilized his fascinating composition style to make his readers feel as if they were really in the book, rather than preserving the barrier between the reader and the page. He permitted them to get inside the character 's heads and truly know them, seeing flickers into the character 's pasts while, likewise, foretelling events to come. He wrote with a very, for the time, eccentric style, but also one that ended up being incredibly powerful.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is considered one of the first novels to establish a new genre. Capote combined fictional elements to a real crime story that set the groundwork for future true crime novels. The foundation of the story is the tragic murder of the Clutter family, Herbert, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon, and the effect it had on small town of Holcomb, Kansas. In Cold Blood is a “journalistic novel” that has “the credibility of fact, the immediacy of film, the depth and freedom of prose, and the precision of poetry,". Throughout the novel, Capote switches between the perspective of the killers, the victims, and those who live in the town. This creates a unique and at times truly staggering parallel that ultimately forces the reader
In In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, the device of juxtaposition is used to contrast the differing mental states of Dick and Perry, which is emphasized by the syntax, diction, and tone throughout the two passages. Capote uses opposing accounts of the same situation to add a deeper characterization of the two men, and to emphasize their differences psychologically. Throughout the book Capote attempts to show the true complexity of the killers, and how their backgrounds and psyches affected their actions. Although Capote is talking in the third person omniscient, he changes his style when describing the two characters.
In addition to including the most boring of details, Capote uses a great deal of imagery to describe the town and its residents. Focusing mostly on visual appeal, he describes the "sulphur-colored paint" and "flaking gold" to reveal the town's appearance and has-been status. Portraying the area as one that has seen better days, Capote writes about the "old stucco structure" that no longer holds dances, the crumbling post office, and the bank that now fails to serve its original purpose.” Combining visual imagery with hints of desolation, Capote attempts to reveal the gray and boring nature of the town through its appearance. He does not, however, rely only on visual details; in describing the local accent as "barbed with a prairie twang," he uses both auditory and visual appeal to make one imagine a ranch-hand's tone of voice and pattern of speech as he describes the events of his farming days. The "hard blue skies and desert-clear air" contribute to a feeling of emptiness, an emotional vacancy that seems omnipresent in the small town. Finally, even "the steep and swollen grain elevators" that represent the town's prosperity are seen in a solemn and mysterious light, as Capote makes certain to mention that the townspeople camouflage this abundance without explaining why they choose to do so.
Written by Truman Capote, In Cold Blood is a riveting narrative that documents a historical American crime. Written seven years following the murder of the Clutter Family, Capote was able to produce such a unique novel that reflects the countless hours that he had spent obtaining information. The extensive amount of interviews and reports add a great amount of depth to the storytelling. The abundance of vivid perspectives captivates the audience and leads them to delve into the inner workings of the character’s actions and thought processes. Resulting in the unveiling of psychological conflicts that raise the question of morality. Capote believes that it is
Capote purposefully detaches himself from this section of the story, allowing the only sense of sympathy come from those who personally knew the Clutters. Because Capote is not able to form a personal relationship with any members of the Clutter family, he simply chooses to briefly explain the family’s murder and shift his attention to the murderers instead. The Clutters all-American image could not rescue them from tragedy and instead of portraying the family as victims, Capote focuses on attempting to encourage the audience to remain optimistic on their views regarding the family’s murderers.
Almost everyone knows that “perfect” family that they perceive never has any conflicts within it, and they often use that family as a cookie cutter to shape their own. What people frequently don’t know is that behind the closed doors of that household, there are rebellious teenagers and fighting parents. In the case of the Clutters they are the town’s icon for a flawless, midwestern family. If the town of Holcomb dug just a little bit deeper into their rolemodels’ lives, only then could they notice the life draining depression and the lies of the children that takes place in the home of the Clutters. Throughout In Cold Blood, Truman Capote displays to the reader through the characters Mr. Clutter, Nancy, and Mrs. Clutter that perfection is only a delusion that no one can fully achieve.