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In Cold Blood

By mrnifty101 Apr 25, 2013 907 Words
In Cold Blood was the story of two men whom were on parole when they brutally killed the Clutter family, a successful farm family from Holcomb Kansas. Perry Smith along with Richard Dick Hancock were hanged for the murders. Perry was a short man with a tall temper he never married; Perry was mentally and physically abused by his father as a child. Dick, on the other hand, came from more of a normal background.

Truman Capote the writer of the book also had a terrible upbringing where he was subjected to abuse himself. Then he was relocated to Monroeville, Alabama where he became friendly with Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. She later helped Capote gather facts for his book, In Cold Blood, the Capote family moved to Greenwich Connecticut where he attended Greenwich High School. Catharine Wood an English teacher took an immediate liking to young Truman The reason Miss Wood is mentioned because it was Truman that admitted she once told him to go write on Fire Island and Breakfast at Tiffany’s was born. The idea of Nature vs. Nurture in the case of Dick and Perry. Capote shows sympathy for one of the young men, based on his childhood, and the other to be born that way. I thought this to be a fairly new debate, evidentilly it’s been around for years. Capote portrays Perry childhood as traumatic besides his mother who left him and his siblings, his father moved around like a gypsy, and a sister who committed suicide. Capote paints Perry as almost childlike and naïve. Perry has books, photos, letters and crayons. Perry carries all this stuff in big boxes with him wherever he goes. Perry also was struck by a trolley when he was a boy, so both legs are severely scared, so that makes him a murderer?Capote feels that will give him a sympathetic edge, and that one can’t help but feel sorry for him regarding his situation while growing up and the fact he turned to a life of crime. Dick on the other hand, had loving parents, excelled in athletics in high school and had many girlfriends. Compared to Perry, Dick showed nothing in his background to have him turn to a life of crime. Therefore Capote believes that Dick’s criminalityis inborn or a result of nature. There is an interesting sidebar here in that it was Perry that did the killing, it was Dick who goes on and on about the violent acts more, and Perry makes them up to impress Dick.This may be Capotes way of indicating he’s more in favor of criminality being born by nurture rather than nature. A Unknown Times reporter wrote: To record real life, Capote trained himself for two years in remembering conversations without taking notes. Friends would read to him and he would try to transcribe what he heard, eventually reaching the point of being 92% accurate. Almost from the start, skeptics challenged the accuracy of In Cold Blood. One early revelation (Admitted by Capote before his death in 1984) was the last scene in the book, a conversation between a detective and the murdered girl’s best friend, was pure invention. Over the years additional holes were found In Cold Blood, a Wall Street Journal article suggested that the Kansas Bureau of Investigation waited five days before following up on a crucial lead in the case, Capote wrote it was done immediately. This is not a trivial matter, because if the K.B.I. acted faster the killers may have not made it to Florida. The Sarasota Herald Tribune printed in a separate story, that the two men may have been responsible for killing another family. Homosexual desire is just below the surface when dealing with the relationships between Dick and Perry, between Willie-Jay, and, more implicitly in the relationship of Capote and his two subjects. Whether or not these attractions were realized by these subjects is anyone’s guess. As a gay man I see the attraction between Willie-Jay and Perry clearly as more of true love, with sex secondary call it Gaydar but there’s lots of homoerotic activity in the book. I strongly believe that Capote was extremely jealous of the love between the men, he saw something he searched for all his life but never found. Capote was used and abused by me his whole adult life, and turned to cocaine and alcohol, as a replacement. I have heard many Capote stories, most from very reliable sources and the man was crazy, If only I can get into details. The theme of homosexuality also functions as a larger symbol of, and premise for, Dick and Perry’s status as outsiders, social misfits for whom conventional society has no place. Remember at the time In Cold Blood was written Homosexuality was considered a mental disease and a threat to social order. Thank god times have changed but I still fight the fight along with all my brothers and sisters. Capotes attention to detail is remarkable; it gives you the sense of being in Holcomb Kansas. The fact Nancy Clutter would comb her hair one hundred times every night before bed, the creaky floorboards, coyotes howling and scuttling tumbleweeds. The scratches on Dicks ominous black 1949 Chevrolet, how much more liberal Garden City Kansas is compared to Holcomb were Capote was said to have been the only homosexual around for miles.

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