Misuses Of Freedom In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Truman Capote 's In Cold Blood was the first news story to be turned into a full length novel. With that, Capote set the standard for New Journalism, but misuses that freedom by swaying the novel towards his perspective. Capote travelled to Holcomb, Kansas to investigate the murder of the Clutter family with Harper Lee once hearing about the lack of depth in the original articles. He enhances the story with details from various interviews with the investigators, murders, and townspeople. However, many of the characters seemed to have been shaped for the story he was trying to tell, and many had more detail in their personalities and background than others. For example, Perry Smith, one of the murderers, was characterized in much more depth …show more content…
Perry was the one who actually killed all the members of the Clutter family. However, he shows remorse in later statements once he and Dick were caught, and he blames himself for everything that happens. Throughout the story, besides the statements, there was little to nothing said about Perry still being a criminal or anything like Dick after the murders. Instead, Capote told about Perry’s past and how he was trying to learn from it. Capote did not give the readers the part of Perry that was a killer like he did for Dick. That made him seem only like a “good guy” in the wrong place with the wrong people. For example, once they were caught and Perry was making statements, he said, “They [the Clutters] never hurt me. Like other people. Like other people all my life. Maybe it’s just that the Clutters were the ones to pay for it” (302). Perry indirectly admits he is brash and overly emotional when it comes to how he acts. He was hurt in his past, but when he says this, it causes pity. Capote brings out the explanation for his actions more than anything. The audience knows about Perry’s tragic childhood, and so by saying he never got hurt causes sympathy towards his actions, as if the readers want to forgive him. This covers up what Perry did and making them just a matter of fact. Both Perry and Capote do have a side of innocence that came from their childhood and changed because of traumatic incidents. Perry became more mentally ill and turned into a killer, while Capote became more eccentric with fame. According to encyclopedia.com, “To combat his loneliness and sense of displacement, he [Capote] developed a flamboyant personality that played a significant role in establishing his celebrity status as an adult” (2, p1) Even as he was killing the Clutters Perry felt regret and knew he and Dick were wrong.

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