Negative Childhood Experiences Shaping an Adult

Topics: Child abuse, Neglect, In Cold Blood Pages: 3 (1076 words) Published: October 18, 2008
How do adults become the way they are? What makes the way they act different from other adults? The definition of behavior is “the manner of conducting oneself” (Webster’s 103). An adult’s behavioral characteristics may just be a result of their biological genes or it may be from their past environments in which they lived. Is it nature or nurture that plays a role in shaping ones behavior? Negative childhood experiences shape the way an adult behaves and lives. In Truman Capote’s novel, In Cold Blood, a well respected family was murdered in the night by Perry Smith and Dick Hickock in search of a hidden safe. They are arrested and sentenced to death. Dick was the one who planned the murders and used Perry as his puppet. Perry clung to Dick because he never had a real friend and felt accepted by Dick as a cold blooded killer. Perry Smith actually committed the murders and was deemed unstable in Dick’s eyes. “There was something wrong with little Perry, Perry would wet his bed, cry in his sleep…. and had an extremely short temper.” (Capote 108) Perry’s childhood was one of abuse and child neglect. After his parents divorced, Perry was sent to an orphanage and a children’s shelter where he was constantly beaten by the nurses. Perry exclaimed to Dick “After a couple of months, they tossed me out of the orphanage and put me some place worse. A children’s shelter. They hated me too. They’d fill the tub with ice cold water, put me in it, and hold me under till I was blue.” (Capote 132) Perry’s mother, brother, and sister had all killed themselves and his only remaining sister; he had “loathed” (Capote 143). His father would come in contact with him when he desired. Perry’s murder spree and mental instability as an adult was just a result of the environment he grew up in. Similarly, a study was done on children who have had problems like Perry Smith. An article in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that kids who were raised in foster care had “little control...
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