“No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me. It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me.” –Truman Capote
Truman Capote is a sympathizer. An article for the New Yorker about a small Midwestern town affected by a brutal slaying evolved into a novel written with special attention and bias towards the murderers. The victims, the Clutter family, briefly described within the first few pages of the novel, are painted as a perfect family, admired by their town. Yet by skimming over the Clutters’, Capote creates a sense of distaste toward the late family, quietly inserting himself into the novel. Capote’s eventual purpose in writing In Cold Blood was to focus on the killers, Dick and Perry, and develop a central idea that although crime may appear insoluble, there is a catalyst driving the criminal to commit such atrocities. In his novel, Capote uncovers these catalysts and in doing so builds a relationship between the reader and the murderers. When portraying the Clutter family, Capote does so simply and efficiently to create a tone of distaste towards the family. Capote characterizes Nancy by listing her achievements and involvement in the community; “…a straight-A student, the president of her class…how a girl not yet seventeen could haul such a wagonload…”(p. 18). This list is as far as Capote goes to describe a murder victim, allowing her to remain a flat, black-and-white character in his story, and by creating a list format, replacing one word with the next, makes Nancy equally as replaceable. While creating this image of a perfect family, Capote inserts samples of information proving otherwise. “That quieted him…but, then, so did Nancy.” (p.19). The community views Nancy and Kenyon as two perfect children. This sentence is as far as Capote goes to add depth to their characters and appeals to a darker side as if to plant the idea that the two teenagers are not nearly as perfect as they...
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