“Unsoundness of mind or lack of the ability to understand that prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or that releases one from criminal or civil responsibility”(Merriam-Webster) The definition of insanity. What does it mean to be insane? What makes a person become insane? These are all questions that have potentially many answers, but they will be answered in the following paragraphs.
In Truman Capote's ‘In Cold Blood’, there are two men who travel to a small town and murder a whole family. Their goal was to get riches, and murder, because they had heard that the family was wealthy. (Capote) This is where we get to the question of ‘what does it mean to be insane?’. Being insane means going into a home, and murdering everyone, including the children. Putting a shotgun to someone’s head and pulling the trigger with no remorse. Putting a knife to a man’s throat and slicing it like it’s nothing. (Capote)
In the book (In Cold Blood), Capote displays the story of Perry’s neglective father. He fails to leave out the part about Perry not being able to go to school because his father wouldn't allow it. Perry never had the natural learning experiences normal children had. Perry didn’t go to school everyday. He wasn’t placed in a school full of a different variety of faces, ethnicity, shapes, sizes. He wasn’t emerged in the environment that most children get. That’s where the question of ‘what
Capote talks about the lives of both killers previous to the murders in fairly significant detail. In the case of Perry Smith, his parents divorced early in his childhood and neither his mother nor father really wanted him. This produced feelings of abandonment and uselessness early on in Perry and affected the rest of his life. Capote brings up a letter written to the Kansas State Penitentiary about Perry by Perry's father, who was trying to have Perry paroled for a previous crime he had committed. Perry says that "this biography always set racing a series of emotions--self pity in the lead, love and hate evenly at first, the latter ultimately pulling ahead" (130). Perry didn't feel as though his father ever knew him very well, or even wanted to know him. He says, "whole sections of my Dad was ignorant of. Didn't understand an iota of...I had this great natural musical ability. Which Dad didn't recognize. Or care about...I never got any encouragement from him or anybody else" (133). When Perry's father threw him out of the house one evening because his father could no longer afford to have Perry live with him, Perry lost his sense of direction in life. He even says
Murder is the most atrocious crime fathomable, reasons why someone would do such a thing are beyond the understanding of most people, however much too often this horrific act is committed due to a larger and more confusing reason, and that is mental health. Those who suffer from these disorders require more research and a better understanding to fully judge and punish those inflicted by these awful and tormenting ailments. The novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote depicts the story of two mentally ill men that, due to ailment commit the slaughtering of a family. The story of these men ends with state ordered execution, demonstrating the country's lack of guidance in how to properly punish mental patients.
Perry is then able to accept that his family was not like any other ordinary family. From realizing this, he comes to the conclusion that he himself is not ordinary as well so maybe he uses this information to try justify his actions. He needs psychological help moreover, Capote is able to impress us with Perry’s character by having us feel some type of sympathy for Perry that may or may not be justifiable depending on what you consider justifiable. A really great example to prove this thought would be, “I think there must be something wrong with us… after all it was “painful” to imagine that one might be “not just right, particularly if whatever was wrong was not your own fault but “maybe a thing you were born with”, (Capote 110), clearly Capote want’s us to believe or accept that Perry’s actions are justifiable and we should feel sympathy for him. In this quote Perry is able to realize or spark his head with the idea that he isn’t ordinary.
The most dominant strategy that Capote utilizes in order to achieve his purpose is pathos, as he plays on our emotions to get us to feel true sympathy for Perry Smith. This is strategy is overall the most effective one because it allows the viewers to perceive Perry differently. Capote mentions Perry’s abusive and neglectful childhood several times throughout the story’s course in order to make the readers feel empathic, and pitiful towards him. In one instance of the novel, Capote makes out Perry as a hero in a way. He sets up a picture of the killers at the beach, and he mentions how uncomfortable Perry is when he sees Dick talking to a young girl. He describes another instance like this when he says, “Hadn’t they almost got in a fight when quite recently he had prevented Dick from raping a terrified girl” (Capote 202). Perry is willing to stand up to his partner when he comes to situations like this. Readers can’t help but view Perry as a hero in his own way as he protects the young girls from Dick’s pedophilic mind. Capote plays on the assumption that everyone hates child predators, which is almost always true. In a way, Capote makes us feel admiration for Perry’s heroic effort in protecting the innocent, as he “prevented Dick” from doing something horrible. As Perry confesses his crime to Dewey and Duntz, he admits, “But I hoped we could do it without violence” (234). This is one of several moments where the readers get a sense of reluctance from Perry to commit the crime. Although Perry did eventually
Insanity, by its dictionary definition, is the derangement of the mind. (Dictionary.com) It is used in everyday contexts, when people say “You are insane for doing that trick on your dirt bike ” or “ The traffic getting out of the game was insane last night!”. However the real definition, written by Cornell University Law School states that “A person accused of a crime can acknowledge that they committed the crime, but argue that they are not responsible for it because of their mental illness, by pleading "not guilty by reason of insanity." The insanity defense is traditionally classified as an excuse defense, in contrast with justification defenses like self-defense. This classification
The Insanity defense is mentioned as confusing to the psychiatric and legal concept. Furthermore, it is explained that the word “insane” is more of a legal word, then a medical term, and therefor to prove a person or a criminal insane, one must find the mental condition, of a criminal, severely impaired to the point of losing one’s free will. A psychiatrist may be or may not able to determine such illness, and a jury’s decision solely based on a psychiatrists’ opinion may be grounded on unreliable evidence. Retrieved from; West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2 (2008).
In Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith commit a murder of all four Clutter family members with no apparent motive. They go all over the United States running from the authorities, while also passing bad checks. They are later caught in Las Vegas and sentenced to death row by a jury comprised of family men that were associated with the Clutter’s. Many years go by before they are hung on April 14, 1965. Considering that Perry Smith had many mental problems that most likely have developed from his early childhood, he should be tried with his disorders in mind and given psychiatric care.
Insanity is described as “a derangement of the mind” according to the online dictionary, (Insanity). Throughout the novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, it is to be understood that the main character, Randie McMurphy, is portrayed as a mentally deranged being that is purposely breaking all of the wardens’ rules, Nurse Ratchet. From the point of view of the narrator, the story is told about how the feud of the two begins and grows more intense every day. McMurphy is purposely breaking Nurse Ratchet’s rules for multiple reasons, perhaps to make a point that even a mental man can make mistakes and any normal being on this planet. There is imagery, symbolism, and a of metaphors throughout the entire novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that
Capote uses Perry as a sympathetic character; asking the reader if Perry’s life had been easier growing up, would he have committed the murders? A point often overlooked is Capote’s detailed exploration into Perry’s childhood and life
The best novels are the ones that connects with the reader and just toys with their emotions, as if they too were also in the story by using pathos, the most powerful appeal. This holds true with Truman Capote’s, In Cold Blood and his writing appealing to the reader’s emotions in the portrayal of Perry Edward Smith and Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock, the two murders with an addition of Capote showing a great deal of favoritism to Perry over Dick. Throughout the novel, Capote uses tone and diction to allure the reader into the novel’s world and into every character’s life, just as if we knew their whole backstory.
Throughout In Cold Blood, Truman Capote presents the idea of how one’s upbringing can shape what kind of person he becomes. This idea ultimately ends up showing what makes a killer a killer, which is Capote’s second authorial intent. As a child, Perry Smith was neglected by his parents, which ultimately leads to his psychological problems and him killer the four family members. All of his siblings went to school, but he was never allowed, and Perry never forgave his dad that they had the opportunity to get an education but he did not. He always despises all well educated people because they got an opportunity that he did not. For example, while Perry was on death row, he did not get along with one of his fellow inmates named Lowell Lee Andrews. He would always correct Perry’s speech and this made him mad. Perry felt that he should keep his “mouth shut [rather] than to risk one of the college kid’s snotty lines” (318). While Perry was a child he was also abandoned at an orphanage that was run by nuns. While he was there, "[t]here was this one nurse... she [would] fill a tub
Even though Capote argues that genetics are more significant than environment, he does acknowledge the cases in which environments play a role in people's development. Both Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, the two responsible for the Clutter family murder, did not have the ideal, perfect environment growing up. Perry came from a broken family, wherein two of his three siblings had already committed suicide. Because of his unconventional environment,
With Richard, Capote mostly makes him sound as though he is a monster and has no emotion or care for human life. This was shown when Richard said, “I keep thinking what fun if my second wife had been there. Her, and all her goddamn family.”(Capote, Pg.221) This showed how heartless Richard really was and gives the reader a very persuaded view of Richard and pushes their opinion of him towards hate and malice. But when it comes to Perry, Capote tries really hard to make him sound as though he was a child and weak. An example of this happening was when Perry said to the prison guard, “When you hit the end of the rope... your muscles lose control. I'm afraid I'll mess myself.” It gave readers a view of how child like Perry truly was, to be afraid to “mess” himself. This also gave the reader this feeling of sadness for Perry by making him seem slightly defenseless around these people without a means of escape, not in his mind or his outside world, showing that Perry couldn’t really fend for himself in the real world. But with this being thrown at the reader it creates a sense of pity for Perry in a way that a person would have towards a cancer patient in a hospital or a little child that lives in an orphanage because they’ve lost their
In the novel In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, one of the themes revealed is self-delusion. Self-delusion causes people to attempt to gain a sense of satisfaction through unnecessary means while causing harm to other people. Capote uses the word “normal” and symbols like the treasure map and safe to display the concept of self-delusion. Capote mentions in the novel, “That he [Dick] knew what he was doing and still went ahead with it…” (Capote 294). Dick was truly a sane and normal man as he had described himself to be. However, he believed in the false impression that his actions of killing and then being able to get away with the horrendous crime through the stolen money from the safe is a deception. On the other hand, Perry’s thoughts displays
"Insanity is defined as a mental disorder of such severity as to render its victim incapable of managing his affairs or conforming to social standards." (Insanity, pg. 1) It is used in court to state that the defendant was not aware of what he/she was doing at the time of the crime, due to mental illnesses. But insanity is a legal, not a medical, definition. There is a difference between mental illness and going insane. Many problems are raised by the existence of the insanity defense. For example, determining the patient's true mental illness (whether they are faking or not), placement of the mentally ill after trial, the credibility of the psychological experts, the percentage of cases that are actually successful,