Analysis of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

927 Words4 Pages
The captivating story of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a beautifully written piece describing the unveiling of a family murder. This investigative, fast-paced and straightforward documentary provides a commentary of such violence and examines the details of the motiveless murders of four members of the Clutter family and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers. As this twisted novel unravels, Capote defines the themes of childhood influences relevant to the adulthood of the murderers, opposite personalities, and nature versus nurture. Truman Capote gives the reader a detailed report of Perry Smith's and Dick Hickock's childhoods. Smith's childhood was very problematic and scarred by years of abuse. He witnessed his father abusing his mother, which happened to result in a divorce. Due to these problems, he ran away from home, and he was "in and out of detention homes many times" (Capote 277). He was also severely beaten and humiliated by a nun in one of those homes. These violent episodes forced his hostility to come out toward other humans. When Smith entered adulthood, he turned into a theft and committed acts of battery. While in the marines, he once threw a Japanese policeman off a bridge and into the water. These events obviously had an impact on Smith, and his adulthood provided him with the opportunity to retaliate. The two killers' childhoods were obviously unrelated, and their differences bring to question the configuration of a killer's mind. It obviously is not childhood that affects the criminal mind's mentality, since their childhoods were completely opposite. Smith's lack of companionship during his childhood probably led him to search for companionship i... ... middle of paper ... ...el somewhat empty. It would have been nice to see what went on in their heads, and how they reacted to their family's death. However, the back-and-forth description Capote gave of the events in Holcomb and the events surrounding Dick and Perry ultimately made the novel more vivid. The way that Capote set up the novel was brilliant; it was designed to always keep the reader guessing and on their toes. I found In Cold Blood absolutely riveting; it was so much more than journalism. The five years of hard work Capote put into his journalism cleverly brought the novel to life. The interviewing process also brought forth a very important, but beautiful obstacle for the novel; Capote fell in love with Perry. He did a marvelous job of not ever appearing in the novel. Capote believed the key to good journalism was making the author invisible, and he certainly achieved this.
Open Document