The Theme Of Power In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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“The paths of glory lead but to the grave,” (Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, 332) Glory is such an estranged concept and what one actually perceives as glory is defined only by personal values. Some value monetary status, or fame, or reputation, being charitable or intellectual- but for a certain few people, glory is power. Glory is knowing that you hold power over life and death. It’s also acting upon that power. The book In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, follows the case of two men who brutally murdered four innocent people of which neither shared any acquaintance. Their path to this glory of power led to their own graves. Thomas Hardy states, “A story must be exceptional enough to justify its telling. It must have something more unusual to…show more content…
On the contrary, people were so desperate for information, they were grasping at any leads and ideas they could possibly find. As soon as the citizens of Holcomb found out about the murder, people would go out of their way to gossip about it. “’Since the trouble started, we’ve been doing all the business we can handle,’ Mrs. Hartman said, gazing about her snug domain, every scrap of which was being sat or stood or leaned upon…’It’s time for everyone to stop wagging loose tongues’ Because that’s a crime, too- telling plain-out lies. But what can you expect? Look around you. Rattlesnakes. Varmints. Rumormongers. See anything else? Ha! Like dash you do!’” (Capote, 113) The case of the multiple murder by Hickock and Smith justifies its telling all on its own. Truman Capote wasn’t the only one telling this story- it was the two hundred and sixty people who populated Holcomb and whoever else heard of the tragedy. Holcomb was a small, religious, and old fashioned town in the middle of Kansas. The elite of the town were all prominent religious people. Everyone knew everyone, no one locked their doors at night- until all of a sudden a well-known and uniformly loved family is violently murdered. Suddenly a neighbor wasn’t a neighbor anymore. The populace conformed to a general atmosphere of distrust and…show more content…
“For if on poor us you take pity, God will sooner show you mercy,” (Francis Villon, Ballade des pendus) The true nature of American violence is complex, and involves more than one point of view. Hickock and Smith are hanged in the end, but one might find themselves hoping not for death, but merely a life sentence for the pair. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, is a perfect example of a novel to support Thomas Hardy’s statement, “A story must be exceptional enough to justify its telling. It must have something more unusual to relate to than the experience of every man and woman,” Capote’s novel more than justifies its telling, people were begging for information. The novel provides an unbiased perspective on the case, which proved successful for such a complex mystery. However, In Cold Blood is unusual in that it has the readers relating to a murderer, and even pitying him. One thing is in common between the killers and innocent alike- everyone has potential for glory. It is how you define glory and strive for it that makes the
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