Truman Capote 's A Cold Blood Essay

1010 Words Sep 18th, 2015 5 Pages
Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood explores the real-life murder story of the Clutter family in Kansas in 1959. Capote makes an interesting and important choice to write his novel from the murderers’ point of view, and in doing so, he examines the nature of the justice and punishment system in the United States during that time. He focuses on the complex reasons Dick and Perry may have committed the murders, as well as their feelings after being sentenced, and encourages the reader to question their own beliefs and opinions about the death penalty.

A flashback is used to describe Perry’s childhood and how it may have affected his actions as an adult. Perry’s past in a Catholic orphanage are brought up. “The one where the Black Widows were always at me. Hitting me. Because of wetting the bed.” His time at a children’s shelter was even worse. “They hated me, too. For wetting the bed. And being half-Indian. There was this one nurse who used to call me ‘nigger’ and say there wasn’t any difference between niggers and Indians.” (Capote, 132). Combined with physical abuse, Perry’s childhood is sad enough to make readers empathize with him, even if he is a murderer. Capote does this to emphasize that even criminals might have a background or a story to sympathize with. In this way, the reader is pushed to oppose his death.

Capote’s argument on capital punishment is made clear when he references the M’Naughten Rule during the trial. The M’Naughten Rule states that a person who…

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