AP English III
20 Feb. 2013
Bleak Holcomb, Kansas is perhaps the most uneventful town around, as most Kansans themselves have never heard of this hole-in-the-wall village. Holcomb is also quite isolated, surrounded by miles of country land, and is as run-down a town as they come. Truman Capote’s detailed portrayal of Holcomb in his novel In Cold Blood is very effective in sharing this view, his personal view, of the town; the effectiveness of Capote’s portrayal is due to his cunning use of diction, imagery, and tone in his descriptions.
Capote uses a widely varied vocabulary to describe desolate Holcomb. Words such as “lonesome”, “aimless”, “haphazard”, and “hamlet” portray the main details of the village. Holcomb is quite lonesome, having no visitors, or even passenger trains, stopping by. Capote also describes Holcomb as “an aimless congregation of buildings”, suggesting the uselessness and insignificance of the town, and also referring to the seemingly random arrangement of the town. This unorthodox arrangement is also supported by Capote’s use of the word “haphazard”. Holcomb’s small size is emphasized by the word “hamlet”, referring to a settlement smaller than that of a village. All of these words effectively convey Capote’s view of Holcomb as an insignificant, unknown town in its own little world.
Imagery is the most obvious literary device in this selection. Capote displays imagery in his description of Holcomb, as well as its inhabitants. With an air somewhat similar to the Wild West, readers can almost picture tumbleweed rolling through this old town. The buildings are quite aged and falling apart, and many old businesses have been turned into make-shift apartment complexes. With citizens dressed in cowboy boots, Stetson hats, and rawhides, the image of this town as an old western setting is only reinforced. Capote’s descriptions of Holcomb provide readers with this view of the town, although it is much less lively than...
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