Dick Clutter Murders

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4. Did Dick really not commit any of the Clutter murders? Did Dick receive the appropriate punishment for the crime he did commit?
Even if Dick did not physically commit the murders, the entire plan was concocted by him and attributable to his mind. His control over Perry allowed for him to murder while keeping his hands clean, and that makes him just as guilty as if he had been the one to shoot the gun. Long before their attempt to rob the Clutters, “Dick must have said it a million times: ‘No witnesses,’” proving his advance motive to kill – or have Perry do it (Capote 233). Dick was the mastermind of the situation, so despite his and Perry’s contention that Perry “‘had shot and killed the whole family,’” it also remains that “‘None of it
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First, his family life was remarkably unstable: his mother – “a disgraceful drunkard,” brother, Jimmy – “a suicide,” and sister, Fern – “out the window” (Capote 126, 138). As a child in a Catholic orphanage, the nuns “were always at [him]. Hitting [him]” (Capote 132). During his time as a Merchant Marine, he was sexually abused, experiencing unwanted advances by older, stronger men when “the queens on ship wouldn’t leave [him] alone” (Capote 133). With a very traumatic childhood, it is not far-fetched to say that Perry Smith is left with lasting mental effects, causing Perry to become a “paranoid schizophrenic,” as diagnosed by Dr. Mitchell Jones (Capote 298). Perry’s distrusting nature would make it easy for him to find motive to kill again, and he even admits that his childhood trauma played a role in the murders: “‘They never hurt me….Like people have all my life. Maybe it’s just that the Clutters were the ones who had to pay for it’” (Capote 290). Serial killers are driven to murder by incomprehensible urges, and Perry shares a number of traits with other serial killers. Once driven fully to a breaking point, Perry might have unleashed more of his pent-up frustrations through similar methods. Often, serial killing is a way for someone severely damaged in the mind to fulfill their emotional …show more content…
Capote admits that the “motivating factor in [his] choice of material...was based on a theory...that journalism, reportage, could be forced to yield a serious new art form” (Capote, “The Story”). In an attempt to transform the attitude towards journalism, which was that technical attributes of the field are too much trouble when an author can simply invent it all, Capote writes In Cold Blood to an intended audience of literary critics in order to introduce the nonfiction novel. For example, while a large portion of the novel is direct quotes from various interviews, there are accurate, multi-dimensional descriptions contrived from a simple witness. Such as when Nancy returns with her animals from a Saturday in the river, “jogging across the fields aboard fat Babe,” all details are taken directly from a witness’s description, in this case, Mr. Helm (Capote 40). It is Capote’s hope that other authors can learn to embrace the quality of the genre and use every witness to their descriptive advantage. Conversely, he carries another purpose and audience apart from literary significance; by maneuvering the text to produce sympathy for Perry Smith, he hopes to generate

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