Diction Analysis: In Cold Blood

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Interrogation of Dick’s Parents
The feelings Richard Hickock’s parents have toward his life style are revealed as Capote incorporates jaded and disenchanted tones into the scene of their interrogation. Mr. and Mrs. Hickock spent years and years struggling to provide for Dick, their troubled son. In spite of their unwavering efforts to guide Dick along what they see as the right path, Dick’s parents are rewarded with nothing more than a heart wrenching feeling of shame and disappointment.

Truman Capote’s use of diction helps the reader to understand the hardships faced by the Hickocks and the great toll it took upon them. The “defeated eyes” of Walter Hickock are caused by a “lifetime of dawn-to-dark endeavor” in which he and his wife “hardly can scratch a living.” Mr. Hickock is deeply affected by years of exertion, leaving him worn out both physically and emotionally. With only 40 acres of land, Dick’s father accumulates as much money as possible from the limited produce and strives to give his son an ideal childhood. Over the years, Dick became a “plain stranger” to his parents and is known to “steal the weights off a dead man’s eyes”, prison being “the ruination of him.” In his parents’ eyes, he is no longer the boy they raised and will never again be the same. Dick resents not being able to go to college so he throws his life away and willingly changes into a person who deviates far from the high hopes his parents had for him. The author’s strategic word choice makes it easier to comprehend the deeper meaning within In Cold Blood.
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