in cold blood comparison and contrast
December 5th 2013
The novel “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote focuses on two main characters, Dick and Perry, that murder a family, try to escape and are eventually caught by the police. Throughout the story the author shows off both characters differently towards the reader, he displays Perry as a sympathetic character and displays Dick as being a dick. Truman Capote first came across the story of the murders by reading about it in newspaper, he then decided to article about it for the New York Times, before finally deciding to write a book. The author had many reasons to write the book his mains purpose was to make himself famous, while creating a new genre, and informing the audience about the murders that happened in Holcomb. In the book the author presents two representations of the same time span, one through the perspective of dick and another through the perspective of Perry. While giving the readers the story through two different perspectives the author uses a strong choice in language. In the first representation from novel the author wrote “Deal me out, baby,’ Dick said. ‘I’m a normal.’ And Dick meant what he said. He thought of himself as balanced, as sane as anyone—maybe a bit smarter than the average fellow, that’s all. But Perry—there was, in Dick’s opinion, ‘something wrong’ with Little Perry.” The authors language in this tries to show Dick using Perry as a foil for his own self-image, often making him seem unimportant for his more eccentric, “childish,” or feminine qualities, in comparison with which Dick convinces himself that he is “normal. Another thing the author shows in the first representation is Dick’s pride in himself, which is made clear when the author wrote “he thought as balanced, as sane as anyone—maybe a bit smarter than the average fellow, that’s all”. Throughout the first representation the authors tone sounds descriptive and condescending, he describes Dick’s attitude while also looking down upon it and not really giving any reason to his actions unlike his tone toward Perry, the first representation is done very well, in my opinion it is because the author goes into great detail describing what Dick does while sometimes being humorous. The second representation of the time span focuses on the perspective of Perry; it shows how Perry saw the events that took place during that time. In the second representation Capote shows Perry as a more sympathetic character, in the book the author wrote, “Then he heard dick say, ‘Deal me out, baby. I’m a normal.’ Wasn’t that a horse’s laugh? But never mind, let it pass. ‘Deep down,’ Perry continued, ‘way, way rock-bottom, I never thought I could do it. A thing like that.” This quote shows an attempt by the author to make Perry seems like a better person, and a more sympathetic character to improve his image. The author also tries to give depth to Perry’s character in the representation, the author wrote “And at once he recognized his error: Dick would, Of course, answer by asking, ‘how about the nigger?’ When he’d told Dick that story, it was because he’d wanted Dick’s friendship, wanted dick to ‘respect’ him, think him ‘hard,’ as much ‘the masculine type’ as he had considered dick to be.” This quote shows how Capote tries to improve Perry’s image because he tries to give reasons to Perry’s actions even though they were bad, by doing so the audience gains an emotional appeal towards Perry and think of him as a better person than Dick. The author shows further sympathy to dick when he himself tries to explain Perry’s action, he wrote “But if the man was dead today it was none of Perry’s doing; he’d never raised a hand against him. For all he knew, King might still be lying in a bed somewhere”, this passage shows how much Capote connected with Perry compared to how he did with Dick, even his tone in the second representation was very different from that of the first. In the second representation, the author tone was still descriptive but was more sympathetic, and remarkably Capote had a way to make Perry look good even though he was the actual killer of the Clutter family. There are many similarities and many differences between the way author presented the two perspectives even though they are of the same time span. Although the way the author presented the two perspectives are very different, there are also many similarities, some similarities are, he gives the same story and often used the same quotes in both representations, in the first representation the author wrote “Mountains. Hawks wheeling in a white sky.” In the second representation the author also wrote “Mountains. Hawks wheeling in a white sky.” This was very important because it helped the reader understand what the author was doing. Another similarity between the two representations is the way the author displays the morality of the characters, in both representations he displays Perry as a more sympathetic character and displays Dick as very proud character. The differences between the way the author presented the two representations, one difference is the tense he used in each representation, in the first representation he uses past tense when giving the story in the perspective of Dick, while in the second representation he presents the story in present tense when giving the perspective if Perry. Another difference is the way he portrays each character, this is very important because it helps the reader understand how the author felt towards each character. In conclusion the way the author presents the same time span from the perspective of Dick Hickock and the perspective of Perry Smith throughout in Cold Blood helps reader understand the connection he had with Dick and also Perry. He also shows that Even though the two may believe that they need each other and that they are similar in each and every way, they each put their own personal profit above one another whether it is for small change, sex, or even as far as death. The author includes the same time span from the point of view from each character to point out how Dick uses Perry as a foil for his own self-image, often belittling him for his more eccentric, “childish,” or feminine qualities, in comparison with which Dick convinces himself that he is “normal,” Perry, on the other hand, prides himself on being “exceptional,” sensitive, even “artistic” in comparison to Dick. However, each man looks to the other for affirmation of his own masculinity, Dick latching onto Perry for his “killer instincts,” and Perry yearning for Dick to think him “hard, as much the ‘masculine type’ as he considers Dick to be.