This lesson will examine the impact of Harper Lee on Truman Capote 's true-crime novel, 'In Cold Blood. ' Lee helped her childhood friend with much of the research for the book, although she was not credited when the book was published.
In many ways, writers Harper Lee and Truman Capote made an odd couple. She was shy and reclusive and only wrote two novels in her lifetime. He was a prolific writer who embraced his celebrity status and lived a life of jet-setting glamour. Yet the two were good friends for years, having met at age 5 as neighbors in Monroeville, Alabama. Lee would prove indispensable to Capote in the research of his most famous book, In Cold Blood. Despite her help, however, Capote gave her no credit beyond the dedication page in the published novel. Perhaps due to this slight, as well as their glaringly different lifestyles, the friendship grew apart.
Harper Lee 's Contributions to In Cold Blood
It was Capote who came up with the idea to write a new sort of crime story - one centered on true events, but written like a novel. However, it was his old buddy Harper who helped him make this idea work. Let 's take a look at the role Lee played in shaping this classic work.
Wooing the Locals
In Cold Blood might have been a nonstarter if not for Lee 's ability to convince the locals to take her friend seriously. Truman Capote did not make a great first impression on the conservative Kansan townsfolk. The prosecutor from the Clutter case, Duane West, remembers him as an 'oddball ' who was 'hard to take. ' Capote cut an eccentric figure, with his high-pitched voice and flamboyant clothes. He was openly homosexual, a lifestyle that was not tolerated in such a conservative Midwestern town.
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...put her name to it. All these years later, it has surfaced and been published again with proper credit given to Lee.
Harper Lee played an instrumental role in the writing of Truman Capote 's classic true-crime novel In Cold Blood. Lee traveled with Capote to Kansas and helped get the locals to open up to him. She sat in on interviews and hearings, took 150 pages of notes, and also provided moral support to her friend. Despite this, Capote downplayed her contributions, and relegated her to the dedication page on his finished novel. Lee 's feelings were hurt, and as time went on, she and Capote grew apart. Recent evidence of Lee 's loyalty to Capote has surfaced with the discovery of an article on the Clutter piece that she wrote five years before In Cold Blood was published. In order not to step on Capote 's toes, Lee published the article anonymously.
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