Rhetorical Analysis Of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Through the use of rhetorical strategies, Truman Capote manipulates the reader’s emotions by portraying Perry Smith in In Cold Blood as a sympathetic character. Perry Smith, along with his partner Dick Hickock, murder the Clutters, a well loved family in the town of Holcomb, Kansas. This small town consists of people, who immediately outkast the murders because they only understand their own lives, and nothing outside of Holcomb. Although there are two murderers, this rhetorical analysis will solely focus on Perry’s traumatic childhood. To share an outsider’s point of view of the situation, Capote uses simile, alliteration, and theme to influence the reader to sympathize with Perry, rather than to condemn him.
The rhetorical strategies Capote uses to create sympathy towards Perry are simile and alliteration. Growing up, Perry’s parents abused, neglected and abandoned him. As the reader gains a better understanding of Perry Smith’s character, she begins to feel compassion for him. Capote describes Perry’s horrendous childhood in a statement the murderer wrote to Dr. Jones, a psychiatrist. The statement is for the doctor to read aloud during Perry’s trial to determine whether the murderer can get a life long sentence in prison or head down death
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Jones earns the sympathy of the reader, the judge dismisses his analysis of Perry, and automatically sentence him to death. The judge and people attending the trial, do not understand that Perry lacks the ability to communicate intimately and honestly, but when he is able to connect with a person, Willie Jay, he becomes a person with hopes and ambition: everything else besides a murderer. Their biased opinions towards Perry cloud their judgement of him and close off any hope of not putting the murderer on death row. For this reason, the theme strengthens the passage because Perry’s cynical view towards life, people, and himself only makes him a more hopeless character, and one that the reader feels responsive

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