Warm Feelings For Cold Blood Essay, Research Paper
In Cold Blood is a novel written by Truman Capote in 1966. In Cold Blood is a true account of a multiple murder case that took place in Kansas in the 1950’s. The book outlines a brutal murder case, but it shows the story from many perspectives, not just that of the law. Capote introduces you to the Clutter family, a well known, very hard working and loyal family to the community. The town of Holcomb is a small farming town. There is not much excitement in the town, and that is the way the people liked it. Everyone went to church and the community trusted each other, until the unthinkable happened. The town’s most prominent family was killed. It is even worse when the only clues are two sets of boot tracks. Everyone in and around the town become scared because if such evil could be brought upon the best family known, what will happen to them? When Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood, he wrote a masterpiece. When he wrote the book he developed the character Perry so that even after you watched him kill you feel sympathetic for him. He proves that you can even see some good in the worst of people. He does this by slowly developing Perry’s character. He gave an in-depth view of Perry’s world. He showed that Perry, although he had troubles in his life and sometimes had a total disregard for people’s life he also respected the people. Perry felt bad for some of the people he met. He also was willing to forgive people. Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons, in New Orleans September 30th 1924. His parents got a divorce when he was four and his mother later remarried and took on the last name of his stepfather. Capote’s childhood was extremely insecure. He was handed back and forth between relatives. When Capote was a child he started to write to deal with the loneliness. At age ten, Capote made up his mind to become a professional writer. Because he knew what he wanted to do with his life, Capote shied away from formal schooling. (Breit) By his mid teenage years he was technically accomplished writer. He stopped going to formal school when he was seventeen. He received a job at the New Yorker magazine. There he was just an errand boy but was noticed because of his mannerisms. During the early stages of World War II, Capote’s interests still focused on his writing. (Norden p162) In June 1945, his short story “Miraim” brought him a lot of attention. It led to his first novel contract. Most of his early works were considered “gothic” but he also had many qualities that made people think that his work in the future had a lot of potential and those people were not wrong. (Breit) Capote’s work did develop past gothicism although some of the old traits lingered in his later works. He had a wide range of attitude in his stories, from horror stories and psychological collapse to stories of magical children. Capote never married but became friends with some of America’s most glamorous women. Capote had been declared professionally dead several times but after each time he came back and proved that he was still alive and well. In 1959 Capote officially decided to start work on a nonfiction novel. In November of the same year he read about a multiple murder case in Kansas. He decided to use this crime as the bases for his novel. He devoted all his time and energy for the next six years on the development of this novel. He started his research before the murders were caught. He was in the town when they were put in Jail. Capote lived in the town of Holcomb for a while to gain the trust of the townspeople and of the murderers. In 1965 when Capote finally finished he published the finished product in four articles in the New Yorker and in 1966 and it published in book form. In Cold Blood earned Capote more money then all of his previous works put together. This book created a big controversy because Capote claimed to have created a new writing style when he wrote In Cold Blood and also because he profited of the deaths of six people. When Capote wrote about Perry in his book In Cold Blood he didn’t just construct the character around the real life Perry. Capote also used some of his own childhood experiences and feelings to make the character of Perry deeper and more developed. After writing In Cold Blood Capote took a long break from writing. He was afraid that he couldn’t live up to the expectations for another book and he was mad at the literary world for not excepting the fact that he thought he made up a unique writing style. Truman Capote died in California in 1984. In Cold Blood starts out by introducing the Clutter’s, an honest hardworking family that was adored by everyone. Everyone in and outside of the town of Holcomb knew and respected the Clutter’s. Herb Clutter, the man of the household was a hard working fellow that didn’t tolerate anything but honest hardworking people like himself. Herb was very religious, as was everyone else in the small town. Everyone in the town looked up to Herb and his family. Herb had a wife named Bonnie and four children, two of which still lived with him in his home. Nancy was the daughter that lived with him, she was in high school and very popular. She was very good at everything that she did. Kenyon was Herb’s son that lived with him. He was younger then Nancy. Together, Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon lived an almost perfect life together, until they were found dead on a Sunday morning. Two men named Dick and Perry were old cellmates in the Kansas penitentiary. Perry was let out of jail earlier then Dick. He was told never to enter into Kansas again. Later, *censored* was set out on parole and sent a letter to Perry. He told Perry that he had the perfect idea for a robbery and needed Perry to help him. Perry consented and they got together. On a Saturday night in November, Dick and Perry killed the Clutter family. The townspeople found the Clutter’s dead in their house on Sunday morning and no one could believe what had happened. They couldn’t believe it because it was such a small community and everyone liked and looked up to the Clutters. The Clutters never did anything to offend anyone. What made to murders even scarier was how expertly they were carried out. The only clues that were left behind were two pairs of footprints. Perry and Dick had a plan to go to Mexico to get away from the heat of the investigation that was happening. Dick decided to get money by writing fake checks and cashing in the stuff that he bought with the checks. Soon Perry and Dick had enough money to last them a while in Mexico. When the money ran out Dick said that he would get a job as a mechanic. Down in Mexico Dick and Perry had fun on the beach and found friends to hang around. It wasn’t too long until the money ran out and Dick had to get a job. Dick didn’t last very long at the job because he said that they didn’t pay enough. Soon Perry and Dick had the idea of going to into the US to get jobs and start working. Meanwhile in Holcomb, the investigation was creeping along slowly. The KBI was called in to help with the case. The KBI were just as baffled but they continued to sort through all the leads. This case became extremely important to the people that were on the case. The officers had a hard time keeping their lives normal and didn’t know if they ever would return to the way they were before the case. In a jail cell in Kansas read about what had happened to the Clutters. It startled him because he knew who killed them. The man was a cellmate of Dick a while back. He had told Dick about the Clutters and that is what started Dick on the interest to killing the Clutters. The man told Dick that the Clutters were rich and that Herb had a safe in his house that held no less then $10,000. This excited Dick and Dick made a plan to steal the money and not leave any witnesses. The man in the jail cell couldn’t decide whether or not to tell the warden what he knew because he was afraid for his life. He eventually did tell the KBI. Dick and Perry went back to the US and went to Las Vegas to try to get some money and find some work. In Las Vegas Dick made more phony check scams and made some money. The plan was for Dick and Perry to go to Miami Florida and find work there. While in Las Vegas, the KBI was on to them. They were almost caught but Dick and Perry left for Miami just in time. Dick and Perry still couldn’t find work for high enough wages in Miami so they decided they should go back west. This was a bad mistake. They were caught and arrested. At first Dick and Perry just thought it was for parole violations and check fraud. They told the questioners the total truth except for murdering the Clutters. The KBI then told them that they were under arrest for the murders. Dick and Perry both freaked. Dick squealed and told them that it was all Perry’s fault. Finally Perry gave in a told the truth about what happened. Dick and Perry were tried and found guilty on all four counts of murder in the first degree. They were sentenced to be hanged. After many appeals Dick and Perry were finally killed. “Capote’s impulse… is to accept and understand the “abnormal” person; it has been, indeed, one of the main purposes of his writing to safeguard the unique individual’s freedom from such slighting classifications as ‘abnormal.’”(Nance p133) This statement is true because the way Capote portrays Perry, he wants you to feel sorry for him, understand him, but still see the wrong in him all at the same time. “In Cold Blood might be called a remarkably successful attempt at an impossible job. Capote has professed surprise that no one else has done quite the same thing, but it is really not surprising at all.”(Nancy p136) Many critics think of In Cold Blood as a documentary novel but Capote thinks of it as a unique work. It is very unique, before Capote no one wrote a non-fiction novel with the same character depth while still moving around from person to person like a newspaper report. This is an extremely interesting style that keeps the reader wanting more. The plot will develop in a certain area and the scene switches so that another angle can be seen. “In Cold Blood read like a novel, with a plot line, vivid scenes, great characterization and good dialogue. Most incredible of all, the thoughts of the characters were present.” (http://www.sgi.net/marbles/zeno/capote.html) This sums up some major aspects of the book and why it was so interesting to read. Capote worked to make this book very good all around, he didn’t just write a standard documentary. He used important literary methods to convey his total message. George Garrett saw the book as a bold and praiseworthy step for the technically conservative Capote: “He has always been known as a distinguished stylist and as an imaginative storyteller, but he has not previously shown a great deal of interest in the possibilities of innovative arrangement.”(Microsoft Encarta) Truman Capote is a truly great writer. His early childhood and his growing up all affected his writing. Even though In Cold Blood is a true account, he had to add many features to it so that the novel would get a unique feel to it. He used some of his life experiences to help add to the detail. He sympathized with Perry deeply and was able to give the character of Perry a better cry to the world. Capote worked hard and tried something different with this book, we can safely say that he came near or did accomplish his goals.