Capote Essay

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Patrick Hibler
English 110

Two People Become One

In Cold Blood focuses on the story and mindset behind the heinous murders of a family that took place in 1959. To the world’s eye, the murders were brutal and mindless. The seeming lack of motive and pointlessness of the crime struck fear and confusion in the heart of the town. The two murderers, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock were caught, condemned as heartless psychopaths and executed. This seems to be the logical and fair conclusion of a crime such as this, but author Truman Capote takes a different look at the story behind the crime. After spending four years interviewing the killers, Capote is able to capture their thought processes and mindsets. He creates characters that contradict society’s preconceived notions of them simply being sociopathic killers. As Capote narrates their story he illustrates a competitive nature and force of tension that continually builds between them until the climax. This silent competition seems to build an alternate personality in each individual. This clash comes to fruition in the Clutter home and serves as a catalyst to Perry’s brutal killing spree. Separately, it seems that Perry and Dick did not have the desire to kill the Clutter family. Dick, having never committed the act of murder needed an accomplice to do the dirty work for him. In Dick’s plan, he stresses the necessity of there being no witnesses; however, never does he personally plan to murder the Clutters. Capote writes, “Dick became convinced that Perry was a rarity, ‘a natural killer’- absolutely sane, but conscienceless, capable of dealing, with or without motive, the coldest-blooded deathblows. It was Dick’s theory that such a gift could, under his supervision, be profitably exploited.” Dick recruits Perry solely for the purpose of believing that Perry possessed the quality that he did not have, otherwise he would have not needed a “a natural killer”. While together, Capote illustrates a...
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