How does the readers understanding of Perry develop?
Early on in the novel, In Cold Blood, Capote described Perry Smith as a dreamer who tended to live in his own fantasies rather than the real world. We find out that Perry has a creative ambition and a sensitive side as he is a musician. However, once again this dream of this his caused him to stop paying attention to reality and what is going on around him by going into a trance.
Later on in the novel we are introduced to more of Perry’s background and the fact that he was in prison. Here we are acquainted with one of Perry’s cell mates who turned out to be a very important and influential person in his life, “Brilliant Willie Jay”. Willie Jay was portrayed as a man of wisdom and, for the first three years in prison, Perry did nothing but observe this man from a distance, for he knew that anyone who wished to survive in the place would not be allowed to make intimate friendships. Observing someone whilst they are doing something was a habit that Dick had when he “had once observed” Perry staring at himself in the mirror. I feel that watching someone closely and noting what they are doing is rather odd, especially for a man, because it can be perceived as effeminate.
Perry, I feel, was a confused man who did not realise his own feelings towards others. He explained how he felt “upset” when hearing Willie Jay sing, when really he liked it as he was so fascinated by Willie Jay. When reading we learn that Perry did not believe in God yet, to receive the attention he so badly yearned from Willie Jay, he drew a portrait of Jesus which, in Perry’s eyes, represented the one man he desired – Willie Jay. This shows how Perry not only idolised Willie Jay but also fell in love with him without realising it. However, when the painting received so much admiration, Perry decided to tell Willie Jay the truth about his (lack of) belief in God as he saw the picture as “a piece of hypocrisy” since he had used it in an...
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