The Clutter Murder In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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Throughout In Cold Blood, the readers are challenged to see different points of views behind the story. They are pushed to see the motives of the killers and feel an attachment toward the more ‘sentimental’ culprit, Perry Smith. The town of Holcomb was very quiet and had minimal crime until unexpectedly, a seemingly perfect family, the Clutters, were murdered. The readers are taken captive in the book as they uncover the truth of the Clutter murder. Capote’s usage of strong literary devices such as the comparison and contrast between the two killers enables him to manipulate the reader's emotions throughout the book. The two killers, Dick and Perry, were portrayed to be polar opposites, where Dick was the strong and more masculine one …show more content…
His parents, when asked about where Dick was, exclaimed "he's ashamed and afraid. Of how he's hurt us again, and afraid because he thinks that we won't forgive him." (Capote, 197) Capote uses these descriptive images of Dick through people that knew him and his childhood memories to manipulate the readers into believing in his own opinions of Dick. During the murder of the Clutters, Hickock said that he "was going to rape her [Nancy Clutter]." (Capote, 330) This quote makes the readers feel more hatred toward Dick and led him to be portrayed as the antagonist. In Mexico, Perry exclaims that, "Dick had sold the car, and three days later the money, slightly less than two hundred dollars, had already vanished." (Capote, 142) This implies that Dick is as careless and irresponsible as a child. As a result, readers feel no sympathy towards him. While Perry could've stayed in Mexico alone and "let Dick go where he damn well wanted, I mean hadn't I [Perry] always been "a loner" and without any real friends....but he [Perry] was afraid to leave Dick; merely to consider it made him [Perry] feel sorta sick, as though he was trying to make up his mind to jump off a train going ninety-nine miles an …show more content…
Capote challenges his readers to see beyond the traditional views of what "criminals" are perceived to be. He persuades them to feel a connection with a killer through literary devices. The most common was pathos, where Capote urged readers to feel empathy for Perry. Through the book, it teaches us the lesson that everything is not what it seems to be and we cannot judge as we realize through the misconceptions of Perry and even the 'perfect' Clutter

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