An Analysis of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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What does Truman Capote present us with in the opening paragraphs of the novel?

Without giving away any of the forthcoming plot, Truman Capote presents us with a deep sense of negativity throughout the first few paragraphs as he sets the scene for novel. Every mention of a location is swiftly followed by a feeling of emptiness: “Holcomb, too, can be seen from great distances. Not that there is much to see...” This automatically presents the reader with an air of negativity, almost pre-empting what is going to occur later on in the thrilling novel.

Later in the paragraph, Capote presents us with the sentence “the streets, unnamed, unshaded, unpaved”. This emphasises the feeling that something bad is going to happen by suggesting that because the area/location is completely un-protected, any life that enters the boundaries of Holcomb is also un-protected from what will turn out to be a true contradiction of humanity. The fact that the houses are described as “one-storey frame affairs” further emphasises the idea that it is completely un-protected. Capote presents us with the idea of a forgotten town, or even a ghost town in a manner of speaking. As Capote details the different establishments in Holcomb, he soon causes juxtaposition of mood: “Holcomb Bank. The bank failed in 1933”. Capote does not present any form of positivity in the first couple of paragraphs, and the detailing of a bank that had been abandoned for many years adds to the ghostly atmosphere. This ghostly atmosphere is directly linked to a feeling of death and decay. Perhaps these themes will be investigated as the novel progresses.

I feel Capote cleverly presents us with a subtle plot overview without actually telling us what is going to happen. He simply presents us with an atmosphere; an atmosphere that is sure to stick in our minds as we read the novel.
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