In Cold Blood Essay

674 Words Nov 28th, 2013 3 Pages
Crimes and Punishment

Character Analysis of Perry Smith

In Cold Blood, a novel written by Truman Capote in 1966, tells the story brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children.
In his 1966 novel Capote relates in detail the true and horrific murders of four members of the Clutter family in 1959 Holcomb, Kansas, but more specifically focuses on the murderers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, and their motivation to commit such a cold blooded crime. Out of the two, Perry Smith is the most complex character who displays a natural ability to kill, but who also has been shaped to become a murderer, making a more “likable” character than his co-murderer Dick Hickock.
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Perry Smith comes from an extremely dysfunctional family to say the least: a drunk for a mother, a father who first rejected him, and later on took him on an ever ending hunt for gold until they almost starved to death, and a brother and a sister who committed suicide. At the Catholic orphanage, where his mother had dumped him, he is hit by the nuns “because of wetting the bed” (Capote 132). After being thrown out of the orphanage, he ends up in a children’s shelter operated by the Salvation Army, is tortured for being part Indian, and almost died after the nurse “What she use to do, she’d fill a tub with ice-cold water, put me in it, and hold me under till I was blue. Nearly drowned.” (Capote 132). Later on as a young adult he joins the Merchant Marine, and is sexually abused by “the queens on ship” (Capote 133). He joins the Army and the story repeats itself. But the curse does not end. In 1952, he has a motorcycle accident that will leave him with crippled legs. Somehow the reader cannot help seeing Perry Smith as a victim of a terrible fate.
Truman Capote manages to make Perry Smith sympathetic also by releasing to the reader some of his more likable personality traits. Perry Smith is “an incessant conceiver of voyages”, one who carries “all his worldly belongings: one cardboard suitcase, a guitar, and two big boxes of books and maps and songs, poems and old

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