In Cold Blood

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American Hypocrisy
Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences describes in detail the slaughter of a preeminent Kansas family, the Clutters, by a pair of emotionally abnormal and socially excluded criminals. Emphasizing the effects of the crime on their community, Capote recounts the enormous distrust that the murder initiated among the usually cordial and friendly citizens of Holcomb and Garden City, rural communities of southwest Kansas. In contrast to this distrust, the ex-convicts, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, move on with their chaotic and lawless lives, without expressing remorse. While Perry constantly contemplates his actions, Dick only ponders on the crime after he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death by an apparently biased jury. Like the beginning, the novel ends with a cold-blooded scene— the hanging of Dick and Perry. As Capote describes the story, he portrays the paradoxes between one’s professed beliefs and actions. Therefore, he exposes the hypocrisy of an American society, through an account shattering the American dream. Despite appearing to be the perfect husband and father, Herb William Clutter, the patriarch of the family, was actually a selfish and lonely man. As one reads Capote’s description, he may think that Herb is the man depicted in the American Dream. Through Mr. Clutter’s details, however, Capote reveals the contradiction between what he seems to be and what he really is. Mr. Clutter, the man who was usually seen as a “joiner” and a “born leader”, wasn’t such if we consider that he and his wife slept in different rooms (27-29). Furthermore, Mr. Clutter was usually overwhelmed by his work, leaving no time for his family. In essence, Mr. Clutter, often masquerading his obsession for work, only looks like a family man. Accordingly, he is a man who apparently has all the values praised by the American society, which is proof of the hypocrisy that all too often...
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