Capote/Krakauer Comparison Essay
The most important thing any writer can do is to give their characters a feel of
dimension to make them seem real. Although Capote and Krakauer do that in very
different ways in In Cold Blood and Into Thin Air, they both reached the same end result: characters you believe. They give them thoughts, faces and personalities. They don’t portray everyone as flawless, they display the faults and the little quirks. They give them life through words, making these stories believable. Despite the fact both incidents happened years before each book was written, the use of detailed facts and personality profiles make each story seem incredibly realistic. But while Capote chooses to write an entirely objective piece, Krakauer relies heavily on personal opinion and experience, creating two very distinct frames of mind and causing the reader too see the characters in each book very differently.
In 1959 the Clutter family was murdered in a tiny Kansas town called Holcomb.
Six years later Truman Capote wrote a very detailed book about the whole case, from the
day of the murder to the court case prosecuting the two murderers, Dick and Perry.
Although he wasn’t there when the four murders happened, through word choice,
description and characterization he creates an accurate portrait of the many intense events surrounding such a tragic story.
In comparison, in 1996 esteemed climber Rob Hall led an expedition of
moderately experienced climbers attempting to climb Mt. Everest, only to result in
disaster and the loss of nine people’s lives. Jon Krakauer was a member of that
expedition, and wrote a piece about the misadventure for Outside magazine. Feeling there
was more to be said, soon after he wrote a book. Krakauer takes a similar approach as
Capote, yet inserting more opinions and less of a feeling of objectiveness to his
characters. This is most likely since Krakauer was living Everest first hand, as opposed to Capote who put himself into the environment years later, picking up details here and there instead of relying solely on memory and friends.
One of Capote’s greatest strengths is to create thought for his characters, making it
almost appear as if he knows what they are thinking.
All summer Perry undulated between half-awake stupors and stickly, sweat-drenched
sleep. Voices roared through his head; one voice persistently asked him, “Where is Jesus? Where?” And once he woke up shouting, “The bird is Jesus! The Bird is Jesus!” (381)
This selection almost creates a feeling that Capote is talking about himself as opposed to a man he never met.