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In Cold Blood
Transcript of In Cold Blood
Part II: Persons Unknown
Part III: Answer
by Truman Capote
In Cold Blood
Holcomb, Kansas, 1959
The 1950s Nuclear Family
"The Good Wife's Guide"
*Relationship with his children? Wife?
*How does he fit into the "ideal" nuclear family?
*Relationship with children? Husband?
*How does she differ from the rest of the family?
*Relationship with her boyfriend?
*How is/ isn't she the 1950s ideal teenager?
*Relationship with family
"The Nonfiction Novel"
*New genre of literature
*Term was coined by Capote
*Read "The Story Behind the Nonfiction Novel" excerpts
GOOD vs. EVIL
*WHO is good?
*WHO is evil?
What's the Author's Purpose?
*WHY would Capote write this book?
*HOW is it different from other forms of American literature?
*WHY was it so popular?
*WHAT are the general
of the novel?
What is the American Dream?
How is it displayed throughout the novel?
Is the American Dream different today than it used to be?
Part I: The Last to See Them Alive
the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.
tells the audience what the personality of the character is.
"Always certain of what he wanted from the world, Mr. Clutter had in large measure obtained it" (3).
the process by which the personality of a fictitious character is revealed through the character's speech, actions, appearance, etc.
"And Mr. Clutter, expressing sympathy, said by all means take the morning off, and if there was any way he or his wife could help, please let them know" (7).
conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie.
an advance sign or warning of what is to come in the future
a deliberate exaggeration
1. Why do you think the author gave the biggest character description to Herbert Clutter?
2. What does not carrying cash say about Mr. Clutter?
3. What type of person do you view Bonnie as? Is she shy, timid, childish, mature? Why?
4. How does Capote demonstrate Nancy’s selﬂessness and willingness to help others?
5. How do you think Bobby felt when he was interrogated as a suspect to the Clutter family’s murder?
8. Who really stood out, character wise, to you? Why?
Who is Willy-Jay (27)?
"He was the chaplain's clerk, a slender Irishman with prematurely gray hair and gray, melancholy eyes" (27).
"An ambition to 'bring this boy to God' engulfed him" (27).
"the chaplain's clerk, then thirty-eight, was a thief, a small-scale robber who over a period of twenty years had served sentences in five different states" (27).
"...Willy-Jay, who was in Perry's opinion, 'way above average intellectually,
perceptive as a well-trained psychologist'" (27)
Letter to Perry on the day of Perry's parole:
"You are strong, but there is a flaw in your strength, and unless you learn to control it the flaw will prove stronger than your strength and defeat you. The flaw? Explosive emotional reaction out of all proportion to the occasion. Why? Why this unreasonable anger at the sight of others who are happy or content, this growing contempt for people and the desire to hurt them?" (28)
"...their happiness is the source of your frustration and resentment. But these are dreadful enemies you carry within yourself-- in time destructive as bullets. Mercifully, a bullet kills its victim" (28)
"Then, touching the brim of his cap, he headed for home and the day's work, unaware that it would be his last" (8)
"A bookmark lay between its pages, a stiff piece of watered silk upon which an admonition had been embroidered: 'Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is'" (19)
"'I can't imagine you afraid. No matter what happened, you'd talk your way out of it'" (23) (Mrs. Ashida to Mr. Clutter)
"A full moon was forming at the edge of the sky" (32)
The last words...
Which literary technique is Capote using in the following quotes?
"Dick waited, ate some jelly beans, impatiently gunned the motor, sounded the horn. Was it possible that he had misjudged Perry's character? That Perry, of all people, was suffering a sudden case of 'blood bubbles'?" (35)
What are "blood bubbles"?
Which literary device is Capote using?
In the following quotes, which literary device is Capote using?
"Like I said, nothing out of the ordinary" (26) --Mr. Helm discussing what the Clutter farm was like on the day of the murders.
"'Why, Herb,' he said, 'You're a young man. Forty-eight. And from the looks of of you, from what the medical report tells us, we're likely to have you around a couple of weeks more'" (30) --Mr. Johnson, the insurance broker
"Put three people in a Room"
Martin Scorcese, the film director, was once asked the secret to a good scene. "Put three people in a room," he said.
How does Capote use this technique?
*Herbert Clutter's intervention in the relationship of Nancy and Bobby
*Perry's dramatic choice in sidekicks (Dick and Willy-Jay)
*Perry's intervention to prevent Dick from raping Nancy
*Invisibly to the reader, the relationship between the author and Dick and Perry
*from Euchner, C. In Cold Type: The Literary Techniques that Make Truman Capote's ...
Show Action in 3 Stages
Dr. W. Mitchell Jones, the psychiatrist who testified about the competency of the killers at their murder trial, said this about Dick Hickock:
"He is a person who is impulsive in action, likely to do things without thoughts of consequences or future discomfort to himself or to others. ...Although he professes usual moral standards he seems obviously uninfluenced by them in his actions."
In Cold Type
warmly and presently cheerful
describing with precision
a position or situation in which there is no escape; deadlock
not in use; inactive
desire to inflict injury or harm
pleasant; easy to approach
Who is Alvin Dewey?
"It was inevitable that Earl Robinson, the sheriff of Finney County, should ask Al Dewey to take charge of the Clutter case" (49).
"...his attitude toward the crime made it, as he later said, a 'personal proposition.' He went on to say that he and his wife 'were real fond of Herb and Bonnie,' and saw them every Sunday at church..." (49)
"'However long it takes, it maybe the rest of my life, I'm going to know what happened in that house: the why and the who'" (49).
(at this point)
*Grudge against the family?
Examining Capote's Language
"...Arthur Clutter...had said, 'When this is cleared up, I'll wager whoever did it was someone within ten miles of where we now stand'" (55).
"Approximately four hundred miles east of where Arthur Clutter then stood, two young men were sharing a booth in the Eagle Buffet, a Kansas City diner" (55)
What literary technique is Capote using?
Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something that the characters don’t.
Dick Hickock and Perry Smith
Look at page 57.
Perry's snake story:
What is this story's significance?
Why does Capote use this?
Could it be considered figurative?
What do we learn about Perry's childhood?
*California orphanage (58-59)
How does Dick respond?
"Dick said, 'I'm a normal. I only dream about blond chicken'" (58).
Why is Perry so impressed with Dick while they are in Kansas City? (60-62)
There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin;
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are;
And they want the strange and new.
The Men That Don't Fit In
by Robert W. Service
An allusion is a figure of speech whereby the author refers to a subject matter such as a place, event, or literary work by way of a passing reference
1. Who do we know better: Dick or Perry?
2. Who do you like better: Dick or Perry?
At this point in the story, consider GOOD vs. EVIL
The Clutters vs. Dick and Perry
Al Dewey vs. Dick and Perry
Willy-Jay vs. Perry
Dick vs. Perry
Perry vs. his family
Capote's Relationship with the Murderers
"What's the name of your book?"
How did Capote get his information?
(77): Dick wants to go back
THE MANY SIDES OF PERRY
The Sweet Side
The Silent Side
The Scary Side
The Sociopathic Side
"...the lips and nose seemed nicely made, and she thought the eyes, with their moist, dreamy expression rather pretty-- rather, in an actorish way, sensitive" (101) --Marie Dewey looking at Perry's photo
Who was Floyd Wells?
*used to work for Herb Clutter
*believed there was a safe at the house
*always liked Clutter
*celled with Dick Hickock
*told him about the Clutter house & the "money"
*provided the tip to police that got Smith and Hickock arrested
The Many Faces of Dick Hickock
The All-American Boy
The Family Man
"'Three precious little boys, our grandchildren-- there, that' what came of it. And Carol is a lovely girl. She's not to blame'" (102) --Dick's mother
"'I hope you find him, Mr. Nye. For his own sake. We have two sons, and he's one of them -- our first born. We love him'" (101) --Dick's mother
"'Was nothing wrong with my boy, Mr. Nye... an outstanding athlete-- always on the first team at school. Basketball! Baseball! Football! Dick was always the star player. A pretty good student, too, with A marks in several subjects'" (101) --Dick's father
"Locked way seventeen months, and all he done was borrow a hunting rifle... And that was the ruination of him. When he came out of Lansing, he was a plain stranger to me. You couldn't talk to him. The whole world was against Dick Hickock--that's how he figured" (102). --Dick's father
"...not a month ago, right before he took off, he told me, 'Dad, you've been a pretty good old dad to me. I'm not ever gonna do nothing more to hurt you.' He meant that, too. That boy has plenty of good inside him" (102). --Dick's father
"One deceived salesman said, 'He [Hickock] did the work. A very smooth talker, very convincing'" (103)
"'The other one-- I thought he might be a foreigner, a Mexican maybe-- he never opened his mouth'" (103) --A Deceived Salesman
"Imagine going all out to impress a man you were going to kill, a man who wouldn't be alive ten minutes from now..." (107) --Perry reflecting on Dick telling dirty jokes and fraternizing with the salesman
"'Yes, I'm afraid of him'" (112) --Barbara Johnson
"'The rights of other people mean nothing to Perry. He has no respect for anyone'" (112) --Barbara Johnson
"He can seem so warm-hearted and sympathetic. Gentle. He cries so easily. Sometimes music sets him off, and when he was a little boy he used to cry because he thought a sunset was beautiful. Or the moon" (113) --Barbara speaking about Perry
"'No Bobo, I'm talking. Shut up, or I'll throw you in the river. Like once when I was walking across a bridge in Japan, and a a guy was standing there, I never saw him before, I just picked him up and threw him in the river'" (115)-- Perry speaking to Barbara
"I hate you, all of you --Dad and everybody'" (115) -Perry talking to Barbara
"One fine day he'd pay her back, have a little fun-- talk to her, advertise his abilities, spell out in detail the things he was capable of doing to people like her, respectable people, safe and smug people, exactly like Bobo" (121).
Who is Barbara Johnson?
*Was very close with Perry when he was young
*Relationship with Perry now?
What is "The Corner"?
Kansas State Penitentiary
Famous for the gallows (for death sentences)
"Envy was constantly with him; the Enemy was anyone who was someone he wanted to be or who had anything he wanted to have" (125).
"He took the child's hand and said, 'You're my baby girl. My little sweetheart'" (126).
"But Perry, little old big-hearted Perry, was always pestering Dick to pick up the damnedest, sorriest-looking people" (130).
"'Go ahead. Put them out. But I'll be getting out, too'" (131) --Perry to Dick (referring to the sick hitchhiker and the boy with him.
At this point in the story, have your views of Perry and Dick changed at all? How?
Who was Truman Capote?
How does the author manipulate us?
(Greek for 'character') refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker.
[P]athos (Greek for 'suffering' or 'experience') is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be 'appeal to the audience's sympathies and imagination.'
Logos (Greek for 'word') refers to the internal consistency of the message--the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument's logical appeal.
How does the author use these devices?
Sentence structure; the way a sentence is organized.
A writer’s attitude toward a subject or audience
"I went shopping for Christmas presents over the weekend."
"I wasted money on Christmas presents over the weekend."
In order to feed her hungry children, the frail woman stole a loaf of bread.
She stole-- but only to feed her hungry children.
I want to ask the authorities what is the big deal? Why do not they control the epidemic? It is eating up lives like a monster!
I want to draw the attention of the concerned authorities toward damage caused by an epidemic. If steps were not taken to curb it, it will further injure our community.
Examples of Diction in
In Cold Blood
Examples of Syntax in
In Cold Blood
Examples of Tone in
In Cold Blood
"They looked to him like '
.' The taller of the two, a
type with dirty-blond, crew-cut hair, had an engaging grin and a polite manner, and his partner, the
one, holding a harmonica in his right hand and, in his left, a
straw suitcase, seemed '
,' shy but amiable" - (how Perry and Dick looked to Mr. Bell)
"'I only remember Nancy's teddy bear
at me'" - (Sue Kidwell remembering the scene of the murder)
"Perry, as he later recalled thought
Five kids-- well, too bad"
(Perry considering Mr. Bell's life and death).
There couldn't be. Or did they mean-- If only he could talk to Dick!
But he and Dick were being kept apart; Dick was locked in a cell on another floor" (Perry thinking about being interrogated).
"After the departure of the detectives,
the composure that had impressed Nye faltered; a familiar despair impended.
She fought it, delayed its full impact until the party was done and the guests had gone,
until she'd fed the children and bathed them and heard their prayers"
(Barbara Johnson after the detectives left her home).
"Hickock said, 'Perry Smith killed the Clutters.' He lifted his head, and slowly straightened up in the chair,
like a fighter staggering to his feet
. 'It was Perry. I couldn't stop him. He killed them all.'"
Breakfast at Tiffany's vs. In Cold Blood
Part IV: The Corner
the act of considering, discussing, and, hopefully, reaching a conclusion, such as a jury's discussions, voting and decision-making.
extreme cruelty or brutality.
the final argument of an attorney at the close of a trial in which he/she attempts to convince the judge and/or jury of the virtues of the client's case.
to finally end a meeting, such as a convention, a meeting of the board of directors, or any official gathering. It should not be confused with a recess, meaning the meeting will break and then continue at a later time
Part IV Vocabulary
to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court after final judgment or other legal ruling.
a structure, typically of two uprights and a crosspiece, for the hanging of criminals.
punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.
a statement of claimed fact contained in a complaint
to give (someone) a usually severe punishment
Capital punishment (n.):
the lawful infliction of death as a punishment; the death penalty.
Part IV Vocabulary, Continued
Dr. Jones says, "' [Perry's] present personality structure is very neatly that of a paranoid schizophrenic reaction'" (189).
is the most common type of schizophrenia in most parts of the world. The clinical picture is dominated by relatively stable, often paranoid, delusions, usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety, and perceptual disturbances. Disturbances of affect, volition, and speech, and catatonic symptoms, are not prominent.
Examples of the most common paranoid symptoms are:
*delusions of persecution, reference, exalted birth, special mission, bodily change, or jealousy;
*hallucinatory voices that threaten the patient or give commands, or auditory hallucinations without verbal form, such as whistling, humming, or laughing;
*hallucinations of smell or taste, or of sexual or other bodily sensations; visual hallucinations may occur but are rarely predominant.
How do these words affect how we see these people/ events?
ow might dashes, fragments, punctuation, and descriptions affect our interpretation of what's happening?
Can you identify examples of Perry that show us he has this disorder?
1. As they are being questioned, where do Dick and Perry’s stories diverge?
2. At this point in the story, who does Perry admit to murdering?
3. How did Perry’s and Dick’s versions of the crime differ?
4. What was the outcome of the score, meaning what did Perry and Dick get out of robbing the Clutter household?
Part IV Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you suppose Dick and Perry laugh non-stop after fleeing the murder scene?
2. Which details included in Smith’s autobiographical statement might lend support to an insanity plea?
3. Why does Dick get charged with three counts of murder in the first degree while Perry gets charged with four counts?
4. Why does Perry go on a hunger strike? Does his reasoning seem rational? Why does Perry resume eating again?
5. Why is Dewey more bothered by the death of Smith than the death of Hickock?
Back to ethos, pathos, and logos
Capote spends a large portion of Part IV discussing a recent study from the article, "Murder Without Apparent Motive-- A Study in Personality Disorganization" by Dr. Satten (189-191).
Which rhetorical device is he using?
What's the point of including this information (it isn't about Perry nor Dick)?
During the trial, Kentucky Green (the prosecutor) says the following to the jury:
"So, gentlemen, what are you going to do? Give them the minimum? Send them back to the penitentiary, and take the chance of their escaping or being paroled? The next time they go slaughtering it may be your family. I say to you... some of our enormous crimes only happen because once upon a time a pack of chicken-hearted jurors refused to do their duty" (194).
Which rhetorical device is he using?
Why might this be effective?
Harrison Smith (defense attorney) also speaks to the jury:
"[Capital punishment]...is a relic of human barbarism. The law tells us that the taking of human life is wrong, then goes ahead and sets the example. Which is almost as wicked as the crime it punished. The state has no right to inflict it. It isn't effective. It doesn't deter crime, but merely cheapens human life and gives rise to more murders " (193).
Which rhetorical device is Harrison Smith using?
Do you think this is effective?
On Death Row...
Lowell Lee Andrews
George Ronald York and James Douglas Latham
"'We hate the world'" (206).
"It was like I told him: he had no respect for human life, not even his own" (211) --Dick
*"The nicest boy in Wolcott"
*Killed his own family over Thanksgiving break
*Called the cops to report a robbery
*Diagnosed with schizophrenia
*Hanged Nov. 30, 1962
*Killed seven people on a murder spree in the Midwest.
*Hanged June 22, 1965
"Anyway, anybody you kill, you're doing them a favor'" (205).
Why do you think Capote decided to write about these people?
What is Capote's stance?
"'Capital punishment is no answer: it doesn't give the sinner time enough to come to God. Sometimes I despair'" (195) --Reverend Post
"Genesis Nine, Verse Six: 'Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed'" (193) --Kentucky Green (prosecutor)
"'Maybe I drink too much, but I sure as hell never killed four people in cold blood.'
'Yeah, and how about hanging the bastard? That's pretty goddam cold-blooded too'" (194).
"Dewey is certain that capital punishment is a deterrent to violent crime, and he felt that if ever the penalty had been earned, the present instance was it" (217).
"Dewey had imagined that with the deaths of Smith and Hickock, he would experience a sense of climax, release, of a design justly completed. Instead..." (217).
He ends the book with Dewey recalling the meeting with Sue Kidwell at the Clutter graves.
Perry's Last Words
"I think it's a helluva thing to take a life in this manner. I don't believe in capital punishment, morally or legally. Maybe I had something to contribute-- something... It would be meaningless to apologize for what I did. Even inappropriate. But I do. I apologize."
Dick's Last Words
"I just want to say I hold no hard feelings. You people are sending me to a better world than this ever was."
So what's the verdict?
What do YOU think Capote's stance was?
anything perceived or happening that is believed to show good or evil in the future
interesting, amusing short account of a particular event
utilized for profit
expression on someone's face
strong; moves emotions easily
having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit
not committing oneself to a particular view or course
protection or security against damage or loss
Why do Dick and Perry want to find black stockings while in Emporia, KS?
How do the murderers plan to get black stockings?
Whose plan was it to kill the Clutters?
Why happened at the bus terminal that caused Perry to go along with the murder? Hint: Willy-Jay was involved
Hint: Think back to
Romeo and Juliet
Dick vs. Perry
p. 67: Dick's perspective
p. 68: Perry's perspective
How are these written differently? How are these two characterized differently?
Part 3 Vocab
to support or help prove (a statement, theory, etc.) by providing information or evidence
not genuine, sincere, or authentic
not strong, loud, intense, etc.
a usually brief written message or report from one person or department in a company or organization to another
the surrender of an alleged criminal usually under the provisions of a treaty or statute by one authority (as a state) to another having jurisdiction to try the charge
How to Identify Ethos, Pathos, and Logos (4:30)
What is the author trying to persuade?
Nissan commercial (30 sec)
Chevy commercial (1:13)
Sensodyne Commercial (:40)
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Trailer (1961) (2:41)
What does my room say about me?
Take two minutes to look around my room. Write down what you see. What does the status of my classroom, as well as some of the items I have displayed, say about me?
Part 1 Review
1. How were each of the Clutters killed?
2. How did the people of Holcomb react to the murders? What did they assume had happened before they learned the truth?
3. How do you think the murders happened?
4. How did Dick and Perry react differently after the murders? What does that say about them as characters?
"It was there that Dick saw the man, who was his own age-- twenty-eight or thirty. He could have been a 'gambler or lawyer or maybe a gangster from Chicago.' Whatever he was, he looked as though he knew the glories of money and power. A blonde who resembled Marilyn Monroe was kneading him with suntan oil, and his lazy, beringed hand reached for a tumbler of iced orange juice. All that belonged to him, Dick, but he would never have it. Why should that sonofabitch have everything, while he had nothing? Why should that 'big-shot bastard' have all the luck? With a knife in his hand, he, Dick, had power. Big-shot bastards like that had better be careful or he might 'open them up and let a little of their hick spill on the floor'" (126).
"Now a young girl, probably twelve, was drawing figures in the sand, carving out big, crude faces with a piece of driftwood. Dick, pausing to admire her art, offered the shell he had gathered. 'They make good eyes,' he said. The child accepted the gift, whereupon Dick smiled and winked at her. He was sorry he felt as he did about her, for his sexual interest in female children was a failing of which he was 'sincerely ashamed'- a secret he'd not confessed to anyone and hoped no one suspected (though he was aware that Perry had reason to), because other people might not think it 'normal.' That, to be sure, was something he was certain he was- 'a normal.' Seducing pubescent girls, as he had done 'eight or nine' times in the last several years, did not disprove it, for if the truth were known, most real men had the same desires he had" (126).
The Heroic Side
"Perry, still reclining under the blue umbrella, had observed the scene and realized Dick's purpose at once, and despised him for it; he had 'no respect for people who can't control themselves sexually,' especially when the lack of control involved 'pervertiness' - 'bothering kids',
'queer stuff', rape. And he thought he had made his views obvious to Dick; indeed, hadn't they almost had a fist fight when quite recently he had prevented Dick from raping a terrified young girl? However, he wouldn't care to repeat that particular test of strength. He was relieved when he saw the child walk away from Dick" (126).
TONE and MOOD
How does it happen?
For Day 3:
Begin Part 1: The Last to See Them Alive
*Begin reading: Pages 1-19 (Stop @ “The two young men…”
Journal: What are your first impressions of the Clutter Family?
Begin answering questions for Part 1.
Day 4 Timed Writing
How to read
In Cold Blood
1. Be aware of who Capote is focused on (look for space gaps)
2. Pay attention to quotes
3. Be ready for flashbacks
4. Remember: he is manipulative!
Choose one of the questions. Answer in 10 minutes. You can use your reading guides and access the iBook for quotations.
Cite your evidence!
Assignment for Day 5:
*Read until p. 37 “This is it…”
Journal: What are your first impressions of Dick and Perry?
Practice 1: Capote-esque Writing
What Will They Say About You?
1. Take a photograph of your room.
2. Upload it to Schoology.
3. Interview two people in your life about what they would say if you died.
*Finish Part 1
Journal: What do you think the motive for killing the Clutter family may have been?
Day 7 Assignment
1. Timed Writing
2. Review: Setting, characters
3. Gender Roles, the "ideal teenager" in the 1950s
4. Begin reading for Day 5
50s Teenage Life (4 min)
1. Obey authority.
2. Don't show emotions.
3. Fit in with the group.
How do the Clutter teens react to these expectations?
Read "How to Be a Good Wife" (On Schoology)
How did Bonnie Clutter fit these expectations?