Discrimination Exposed In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

The 1950’s were a time when discrimination occurred all over the place, for a multitude of reasons, such as religion, social class and illnesses. A less accepting society existed back then than today. The town of Holcomb, Kansas in 1959, faced a major crime exploiting how society deals with differences, when the most respected family, the Clutters, were all brutally murdered. In Truman Capote’s nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, Capote introduces the psychological state of one of the killers, Perry Smith, by using his family structure, his relationship with the man in charge of this crime, Dick Hickock, and his self resentment in order to reveal how society’s strict and closed minded views on mental health affect Perry’s portrayal as a murderer. …show more content…
Dick prefers to be the leader, while small, delicate Perry must always have someone to follow, like a lost puppy. He “was afraid to leave Dick” because he does not trust himself to make decisions on his own (Capote 124). He believes if he stays with Dick, everything will be fine, however he ultimately ruins his life. Dick demonstrates no true care for Perry, referring to him as “a wife that must be got rid of” only using him for his own personal needs and derogating him(Capote 214). Because Perry thinks as a child and thinks and acts in a feminine way, he Dick and society look down at him. Dick had a much better upbringing than his accomplice, full of loving parents, a higher rank in social class, and a stable home. However, he ends up with no respect for human life, while Perry shifts from humane to violent at the flip of a switch. During the crime, Perry tells Dick they should leave the house because what they are about to do seems wrong, but moments later he ends up killing them (Capote 239). Knowing this information about Perry, anyone can tell he has mental issues, yet he receives the same sentence as Dick. Perry does not know the difference between right and wrong, although Dick does and still goes through with the crime. Society immediately sees two murderers and places them as equal, no matter the …show more content…
Perry suffers from mental health issues, ignored by a society wishing for the death penalty of both him and Dick. The society in the book differs greatly from the society reading it because the readers know the psychological states of both men and the way each interacts with others. Because of this the readers sympathize for the murderers, especially Perry. In the book, the community focuses solely on the fact that the Clutters were murdered, rather than the reasoning behind it. Capote explores the psychology of Dick and Perry to illustrate how mental issues influence actions and the way societies reject these issues without thinking twice. Even though acceptance of differences is normal in today’s age, overall, society worsens from the accustomation to crimes and harsher judgment of social

Related Documents