Truth and Fiction in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood Essays

1944 Words 8 Pages
How In Cold Blood Capote Desensitized Our Ability to Differentiate Between Truth and Fiction.

Reading In Cold Blood brought me a new literary and psychological understanding. I realized what such a heinous murder would do to a town like Holcomb, Kansas. I always took my childhood for granted; nothing bad happened in our town, nothing equal to the ugliness of the Clutter murder. After rereading In Cold Blood, I read every piece of literary criticism on the book as I could find. I began to consider the impact of Capote on today's based-on-fact books and movies. My goal was to discover whether the blurring of the line between truth and fiction has befogged how we, as readers and viewers, differentiate between truth and
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7).

Capote's groundbreaking work spawned a new type of approach to non-fiction. Journalists took their craft to new levels of creativity. Capote knew that non-fiction could be as interesting as fiction, but that a journalist had to be ready to take on the task (Hamilton, par. 2). In his biography, Truman Capote, Gerald Clarke quotes Capote as saying:

Journalism always moves along a horizontal plane, telling a story, while fiction-good fiction-moves vertically, taking you deeper and deeper into characters and events. By treating a real event with fictional techniques (something that cannot be done by a journalist until he learns to write good fiction), it's possible to make a kind of synthesis. (qtd. in Hamilton, par. 3)

Some were able to cross that line with literary success. Mailer did, as did Joseph Wambaugh with The Onion Field, and, more recently, John Berendt with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In taking fact and turning it to fiction with in-depth character analysis, Capote started a revolution, forever making the line between fiction and non-fiction at best ill-defined, and at worst invisible. Capote's work (and those who followed who are worth mentioning), was so imaginative, so close to fiction we find it harder to distinguish between reality and make believe.

As the line gets less and less evident, murder isn't as

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