The Role Setting Plays

Topics: In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, Holcomb, Kansas Pages: 4 (1353 words) Published: January 10, 2013
The Role Setting Plays

The setting of a story is rarely ever just a place. The setting serves a purpose that helps add to the story being told. Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood is set in the small country town of Holcomb. He illustrates a tightly knit, religious, secluded town for his audience to identify with. Capote uses Holcomb to connect with his audience and as an ironic element, which in turn creates and adds to the emotional impact brought with the murders.

Capote spends a tremendous amount of time describing the town, from the “hard blue skies and desert-clear air” (Capote 1). He adds emphasis on little details, such as the “aimless congregation of buildings,” or “white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples,” (Capote 1) He adds detail about the school, and the post office. He makes it almost like any other town, and imagery of Holcomb that he uses makes his audience a part of the story because they have the visual and feel they can place themselves in. Capote uses the setting to his advantage in this sense. By describing the town down to the structure of old buildings, he opens the door to the town. Then, one can walk through the door, and make themselves a part of the town in a sense that wouldn’t be there if he had not emphasized Holcomb. It brings a comfort level because people are able to create their own little Holcomb in their mind, and they are then able to relate to it. He uses description of the setting to form an emotional connection between the audience and the town. Capote makes this emotional connection, so that when the Clutters are found dead, it has a bigger impact because the audience would feel it as a personal attack on them. When they make Holcomb their temporary hometown, the murders will take a bigger toll on them, and the shock, anger, and upset the town feels as a result of the Clutter family murder is felt by them as well. This adds to the impact of the story Capote was telling....

Cited: Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Random House, 1965. Print.
Foster, Thomas C. "Geography Matters . . ." How to Read Literature Like a Professor. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. 163-74. Print.
Knickerbocker, Conrad. "One Night on a Kansas Farm." The New York Times. N.p., 16 Jan. 1966. Web.
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