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In Cold Blood
Emily Williamsonon 19 June 2010
Transcript of In Cold Blood
By: Truman Capote Summary Capote Background Critical Reception Themes Symbolism Common Threads Conclusions About America Born on September 30, 1924 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Mother and Father divorced when he was 4
Mother got remarried to Joseph Garcia Capote
Dropped out of school
First works shot him straight to success
Moved to Europe to persue his work
Came back to America to follow his new ambition
Lived in Holcomb, Kansas to investigate and write
Never finished another piece of work because of his problems with drugs and alcohol
Died on August 26, 1984 in Los Angeles (Oakes) Characters Killers Perry Smith
-wishes he could have a different life and grew up having a better childhood Dick Hickock
-he comes off as a confident, strong man, but looks don't exude the truth The Clutters Herbert Clutter
-father, owner of River Valley Farm, built up a life and wealthy business for his family, and is a total family man Bonnie Clutter
-mother, "on-and -off psychiatric patient" because of a misplaced vertebrae which caused her to spend most of her time in bed Nancy Clutter
-16 year old daughter, "town darling", definition of perfect child Kenyon Clutter
-15 year old son, "taller than Mr. Clutter", akward kid in general Evanna Clutter
-(not killed) eldest daughter, married and mother of 10 month old baby lives in Illinois Beverly Clutter
-(not killed) second oldest daughter, "lives in Kansas City studying to be a nurse and engaged to a young biology student" Investigators Alvin Dewey
-investigator for the KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigation), gets fully immersed in the case
-also called "Brother Nye", one of the principle KBI assistants
-a.k.a. "Curly", one of the oldest investigators, supposed to be really good at his job and shooting
-another KBI assistant, one to question Perry along with Dewey Susan Kidwell
-Nancy's best friend
-at Lansing prison, becomes Dick's cellmate after Perry leaves, former worker for Clutter at his farm, tells Dick about Clutter's wealth and details about the Clutter's lives including the layout of their house The Victims Loss of Innocence Sympathy towards Evil This theme is mainly prominent with the people of Holcomb. They live in such a small town and don’t know much outside of it. They aren’t exposed to anything that goes on outside of Holcomb. Once the murders occurred, the town goes crazy with gossip and loses their innocence. "Throughout the novel, Perry and Dick are transformed from heartless, cold-blooded menaces, whose actions seem to defy human logic, into the fraught, pitiful, completely humanized individuals they are at the end of the book, and the crime itself is boiled down to a very basic and fairly understandable set of emotional responses" (Gradesaver 1). This quote explains how people's views of them changed over the book and became more sympathetic towards the two. Similarity in Theme A common theme found in both In Cold Blood and The Catcher In The Rye is the loss of innocence. When Holden goes to the city he sees things that he wasn’t exposed to before. His innocence is stripped by the experiences he has, like meeting Sunny the young girl who was a prostitute. Holden gets a lesson from his teacher Mr. Spencer when he tells Holden, “Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules” (Salinger). In the book it foreshadows that he will have rough experiences in his journey ahead. "In Cold Blood sold out instantly and became one of the most talked-about books of its time" (Oakes).
Many people liked the book and loved the controversies in the plot. Americans were naive and thought that the world was a nice and kind place, but one thing could happen to show them that it's actually gruesome and cruel
The American Dream can be possible for some, but depending on how a person grew up, and their past could alter the results for them achieving the American Dream Describing of the scenery of Holcomb- "the serenity of the plains is an unlikely setting for a tragedy, which makes it all the more disturbing when one does occur" (Laubacher)
Preserving the innocence, even after death
“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’ . . .The land is flat, the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them” (Capote 3) "The graves of the Clutter family, four graves gathered under a single gray stone, lie in a far corner of the cemetery- beyond the trees, out in the sun, almost at the wheat field's bright edge" (Capote 342). Crime This is also in The Crucible, Abigail is in a relationship with a married man and there is big controversy over that in their town, just like there is a lot of controversy in Holcomb with the murder of the Clutter family. People aren't always what they seem In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim is commonly misviewed by the people he and Huck encounter on their journey, and you get to learn who he is and what kind of person he is through how he acts in situations in the book. This is also prominent in In Cold Blood when Perry is about to be hanged and apologizes for all that he did to hurt the people his actions affected. Emily Williamson Bibliography Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Vintage Books, 1965. Print.
GradeSaver. *In Cold Blood Study Guide & Literature Essays*. GradeSaver, 13 May 2010 Web. 13 May 2010. http://www.gradesaver.com/in-cold-blood/
Laubacher, Grace. Chazelle, Damien ed. *In Cold Blood Study Guide : Quotes and Analysis*. GradeSaver, 31 August 2009 Web. 13 May 2010.
Oakes, Elizabeth H. “Capote, Truman.” American Writers, American Biographies. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2004. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE52&iPin=AW048&SingleRecord=True (accessed May 10, 2010).
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Catcher in the Rye.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 6 May 2010.
Pictures Provided By:
November 15, 1959 Clutter Family Murders
KBI try to figure out who it is
Smith and Hickock are on the run and fled the country
Caught in Vegas
Taken in for questioning
In jail for 5 years trying to get case appealed
Executed on April 15, 1965 rrrr