The townspeople’s reaction to the news of the killings is one of “amazement, shading into dismay; a shallow horror sensation that cold springs of personal fear swiftly deepened” (70). The Clutters’ demise has larger significance for this sheltered little part of western Kansas: it amounts to the infiltration of an “other” – a “poor, rootless, misbegotten” other – into their peaceable and prosperous little universe. The Clutter killings symbolize a collision of the two sides of America: the prosperous, self-assured “haves” with the disappointed and destitute “have-nots.” The ideology of the American dream is forced to confront those it has left behind. The town of Holcomb, following the initial trauma of the grim discovery, begins to confront the longer-term implications of the murders: “This hitherto peaceful congregation of neighbors and old friends had suddenly to endure the unique experience of distrusting each other” (88). That the town of Holcomb has experienced a loss of innocence is a point that Capote continues to explore in this section. Disillusioned by the crime, the residents are fraught with feelings of fear and mistrust, and many set off to settle elsewhere, hoping to regain their sense of security and well-being. The town of Holcomb then Ironically realizes that evil is everyone and they only people they should specifically trust is themselves. This is not only an awakening to the people, but a time to realize that they must take everything into consideration and take care of themselves and only themselves. Using metaphor, Capote shows that there is an evil inside of all of us, they may not be able to be tamed always, causing us to do bad things. “ Imagination, of course, can open can open any door-turn the key and let the terror walk right in” Capote also gets at how some of the townspeople in Holcomb were oblivious to the fact that not everyone is good, and that yes bad things can happen if you leave your house wide open to...
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