Bias In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, is a nonfiction novel about the mass murder of an innocent family. Though highly acclaimed, the book ends up falling short of its nonfiction description, as the article, “Critical Essay on In Cold Blood”, argues that there is great bias in In Cold Blood in the form of sympathy towards the main character, Perry Smith, which is certainly true. Instead of following the conventional format of a nonfiction mystery novel, Capote uses In Cold Blood as an outlet to express his sympathy towards Perry Smith, the man who ruthlessly murdered four innocent members of the Clutter family. This evident bias hampers Capote’s attempt at an impartial account of the Clutter family mass homicide.
Traditionally, mystery novels are
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Capote uses rhetoric effective in making the reader feel some sympathy towards Perry Smith. In the book, In Cold Blood, Capote adds two letters from Perry Smith’s family members. In one letter, Perry’s father talks about Perry as a child, including how Perry was the only one of his kids to really love him, how Perry would stick up for the little kids that were bullied in school, and how “[Perry] was well liked by all the neighbors, and their kids” (146-147). The same letter also talks about the rough upbringing that Perry had. Perry’s mother and father split when he was young and his mother was a drunk who didn’t care much for her children. Perry was bullied by many kids in the many different schools he attended due to his family situation. None of this screams a pleasant or decent upbringing, which was Capote’s entire point of putting it in the book - to make the reader feel bad for Perry. And as the article, “Critical Essay on In Cold Blood”, states, “[In Cold Blood] is ultimately a condemnation of society’s treatment of its children.” Capote develops this idea later in the book by outlining the effect his early life had on

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