Dick And Perry In Cold Blood Analysis

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In the fall of 1959, the Clutter family from Holcomb, Kansas was brutally slaughtered with the two murderers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, condemned to lives of indefinite pain and misery by the American society. In this nonfictional tale that encaptures the homicide of a down-to-earth, American family, Truman Capote goes beyond ordinary detailing to deliver this true account from perspectives that transcend ordinary thoughts of violence. Indeed, it was through his unique style of writing and masterful manipulation of language that led this historical account of “cold-blood” murders seem much more than a monstrous act. Elements such as the extensive examination of the novel’s characters, vivid choice of words and intricate handling of the …show more content…
The thorough examination of these characters provides the audience a story that goes beyond obvious fact and demonstrates a narrative with rather complex antagonists. As the novel progresses, the reasons as to why Dick and Perry were incarcerated and became criminals becomes increasingly apparent. Capote examines their upbringings, especially Perry who proves to be the more interesting of the two, and the influence it had on the murder. Perry experienced a childhood that was precarious and riddled with unfortunance, with his mother “acquainted with alcohol”(p.273), his father short-tempered and a nun who would “fill a tub with ice cold water, put me in it, and hold me under until I was blue” (p.132). On the other hand, Dick’s childhood was well-to-do, but impulses towards pedophilism and kleptoism led to his criminalistic disposition, “I think the main reason I went [to the Clutter house] was not to rob them but to rape the girl” (p.278). Contrary to the title of the book, “In Cold Blood”, Capote substantiates the reasons of murdering the Clutter family as being tied to the bleak histories of the two murderers and, through their characterization, allows the readers to sympathize with the antagonists in a unique way. Furthermore, he does so with equality, providing the backgrounds of the two criminals with the same intricacy and understanding …show more content…
It is revealed early on in the novel that “four shotgun blasts, all told, ended six human lives” (p.5) which in itself establishes the author’s intent of this creative work as being not a crime novel but instead an examination of the human nature. Indeed, by providing no differentiation between the “six human lives”, Capote implies that he sees the deaths of the murderers and the Clutter family in similar and equal lights. Structurally speaking, the author organized the novel in a way that would most effectively demonstrate this belief. Contrary to journalism found in newspapers, Capote wrote from several different perspectives - whether it be from Dick’s, Perry’s, Nancy’s, Dewey’s, or various other characters - to provide insight of the crime in a more personal manner. After confessing to the crime, Perry explained to the officers that he “didn’t want to harm [Mr. Clutter],”(p.244) and that the reason he cut the man’s throat was based upon frustration with the “phony and coward” (p.244) Dick and the fact that he was “crawling on [his] belly to steal a child 's silver dollar” (p.240). The murder of the Clutters was not done in cold-blood, rather it was an accumulation of anger within Perry of all

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