In Cold Blood Characterization

846 Words 4 Pages
In 1959, the savage murder of the Clutter family attracted thousands of journalists to the remote town of Holcomb, Kansas. One of them was author Truman Capote, who had recorded the details and consequences of the murder in his best-selling novel: In Cold Blood. Debated hotly regarding its credibility and writing style, the novel remains a controversial and unique work. In Cold Blood is important to be read by high school students since it exposes students to a renowned work of a unique genre of novels, exhibits Capote’s mastery in characterization and provides a vast amount of information about a significant event in criminal justice history.
In Cold Blood is one of the most exemplery works of the non-fiction novel genre. Unlike the fictions
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One prominent example is the characterization of Perry Smith, one of the two ex-convicts of the murders. Capote dwelled deep into the character’s psychological past, revealing all of his pains and emotions: The man’s dream of being a psychic (51), being a stage star (31), and his suffering from the horror of his childhood abusers which kept him awoke many nights of his life (57-58). With this detailed characterization, readers can easily understand why Perry was able to heartlessly murder a family whom he knew were nice people. In addition, readers can possibly feel sympathetic to the killer after learning about his dark past of being neglected, bullied and abused. Another impressive example of Capote’s characterization is of Herbert Clutter. Unlike Perry, Capote’s account of Mr Clutter had to be based solely on how others viewed him, but nevertheless, the character was vividly reconstructed. Mr Clutter’s noble and respectable personality was noted and his small habits, such as eating apples (6) and tending to his wife (155), were also recorded in details. The result is a calm, smart and well-liked character who treated everyone, even his killers, in a respectful manner. Capote’s masterful characterization skills brought more value to the novel, making it a worthwhile read to students.
In Cold Blood, the story of the Clutter family muder and its consequences, remains a valueble read to all high school students. It is a prominent representative of the non-fictional novel genre; an innovative work that helped to ignite the era of New Journalism. It showcases Truman Capote’s skills in research and characterization and brought the author significant fame. The work should be read universally since it is already very renowned and well-received among

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