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Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

Powerful Essays
Many writers traditionally use their imagination to fabricate an interesting yet fictional story. Only their creativity and vision limit their writing. They can afford to neglect minor details because they do not base their stories on factual information. There existed a period when this was the only practiced style when writing a novel. However, Truman Capote pioneered the 'nonfiction novel', as he called it, when he undertook the writing of In Cold Blood. His book described the well-known murders of the Clutters, a model American family. Due to the fact that Capote was writing a factual account of the crime, he thought it necessary to make his novel correct in even the smallest details. This proved to be a very difficult project, but his perseverance paid off. Capote made use of many literary techniques in order to grab the interest of his readers. He wanted his novel to be more than just a newspaper description of the crime. Finally, In Cold Blood was a great success because it told a true story in an interesting way. Capote overcame a big milestone by discovering a way to write a nonfiction novel, which appealed to everyone.

First, Capote knew that he was creating a new art form when he wrote his greatest work, In Cold Blood. He was a writer for the New Yorker, which gave him good practice in gathering important facts It took him six years to complete this book because that is the amount of time that passed from the time the Clutters were murdered to the time the criminals were put to death. Truman Capote wanted his novel to be as close to the true facts as possible. He painstakingly gathered information from Holocomb, Kansas, the site of the murders, and various other settings. In reference to Capote?s obsession for accuracy, Gerald Clark wrote

In Cold Blood may have been written like a novel, but it is accurate

to the smallest detail, ?immaculately factual? Truman publicly boasted.

Although it has no footnotes, he could point out to an obvious source

for every remark uttered and every thought expressed. ?One doesn?t

spend almost six years on a book, the point of which is factual accuracy,

and then give way to minor distortions.?(358)

Because Truman had to devote much of his time to the research and writing of this novel, he wanted to be thorough. He was so proud of his work that he dubbe...

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to every event, and the creative vision of an artist who can arrange his

materials in such a manner that the reader is moved to pity, terror, joy,

and sorrow.(237)

Capote proved his excellence in writing by maintaining a firm grasp on his reader?s attention.

In conclusion, In Cold Blood was a pioneer novel because it combined journalism with fiction techniques. It was very difficult for Truman Capote to write this novel because he had to gather massive amounts of data in order to make the book factual. Next, he needed to organize that data in such a way that it would be interesting to the reader. Secondly, Capote used many literary techniques such as flashback and dramatic irony to make his novel more interesting. Finally, this novel was very appealing to all people because it was based on a true crime. Edward Weeks wrote ?he is providing the readers with a high-minded aesthetic excuse for reading about a mean, sordid crime.(160)? This means that Capote provided people with an artistic account of the Clutter murders rather than a straightforward, newspaper one.

Works Cited:

Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Vintage, 1965.
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