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Mix of Journalism and Fiction in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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John Hollowell's, critical analysis of Truman Capote's novel In Cold Blood focuses on the way Capote used journalism and fiction to try and create a new form of writing (82-84).

First, Capote involves his reader. "This immediacy, this spellbinding 'you-are-there' effect, comes less from the sensational facts (which are underplayed) than from the 'fictive' techniques Capote employs" (Hollowell 82). Capote takes historical facts and brings in scenes, dialogue, and point of view to help draw the reader in (Hollowell 82).

Capote also took into consideration which parts of information to use by how dramatic of an appeal they had (Hollowell 82). His talent led him to figure out what would have the most significance and impact to make the story flow for the reader. "The conversations of close friends of the Clutters, of the chief detectives, and even of the killers themselves are powerfully rendered" (Hollowell 82).

In addition, Capote uses dialogue to advance his story and to bring about suspense. His use of point of view helps to manipulate the story line. The way Capote uses an omniscient narrator "promotes 'objectivity' and suggests, at the same time, a complex pattern of cause-and-effect relationships surrounding the crime" (Hollowell 83).

The narrator tries to present the facts and stay objective. When he attempts to explain events or adds a fraction of moral to the story, he immediately goes back to using simple narration. Hollowell states that Capote must have realized that through his narration still only one point of view was being presented (83). Even though events could be checked, "any attempt to write a narrative account implies establishing a 'fiction' that best fits the facts as they are known"...

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...k" (84). However, he failed to recognize that previous works by Stendhal, Dreiser, and Dostoevski also used similar techniques in true crime stories.

Overall, In Cold Blood gives an example of events of the sixties, such as meaningless crimes, senseless violence, social dislocations, and failure of the conventional morality (Hollowell 84). "Ultimately, Capote's story of Perry and Dick and the Clutter family transcends the here and now, the merely local and particular that are hallmarks of journalism" (Hollowell 84). Hollowell states there is no way to deny that Capote made an extraordinary attempt at bringing together journalism and literature (84).

Works Cited

Hollowell, John. "Truman Capote's 'Nonfiction Novel.' Fact and Fiction: The New Journalism and the Nonfiction Novel."

Contemporary Literary Criticism 19 (1981): 82-84.
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