In Cold Blood
The town of Holcomb is the perfect place to set the stage for murder. In the opening of “In Cold Blood”, Truman Capote paints a picture of Holcomb that is nothing more than a dull, boring, and desolate small town. He develops his view thought specific detail selection which depicts visual imagery, a detached and repetitious tone, accompanied with a specialized sentence structure. In a town that is as dreary as Holcomb, no one would ever expect a quadruple murder.
Through his details, Capote attempts to place Holcomb as an extremely desolate and lonesome a area. He refers to Holcomb as a place that “other Kansans call ‘out there’”. He also depicts that the small town is surrounded by rivers, prairies, and wheat fields which gives the reader a feeling of loneliness. Several times he mentions the decaying paint among the “aimless congregation of buildings”, which shows how he views that Holcomb is dull and unchanging. Capote also uses broad terms to describe the inhabitants. He has them all “barbed with a prairie twang [accent]”, and wearing trousers and “boots with pointed toes”. He focuses on the superficial and outward appearance of all of the townsfolk of Holcomb, while describing one specific towns person as “[she] wears a rawhide jacket, denims, and cowboy boots”. That is another way of saying trousers and pointed toe boots. He never really develops any unique insight into any of the inhabitants. This overgeneralization proves Capote’s view that Holcomb is one-dimensional and simplistic, and therefore solemn and dull. In addition, Capote reveals the has-been status of the town through imagery and details of the surroundings. He describes the buildings as having “peeling sulfur colored paint” and “flaking gold” to show the run down nature of the town. He describes the town as having seen better days, while describing an “old stucco structure” with a sign that says dance and an old bank; both of which fail to serve their purpose anymore. The...
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