Book Analysis: In Cold Blood

Table of Content

Capote says, “The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch h and asalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetso ns, and highheeled boots with pointed toes. ” (pg 3) By using description in such great a detail, Capote is able to create a world for the reader which is very easy to assimilate into because Of the ease which one is able to picture the place being described. An other example, where Capote uses imagery is when he describes Mexico, ” Mountai Hawks wheeling in a white sky.

A dusty road winding into and out of a white d u sty village. ” (1 07108) Once again by using imagery Capote is able to paint a pictur for the reader which in turn helps to convey the mood. By describing Mexico in this w ay Capote is able to establish a mood of isolation which in turn could be interpreted as a metaphor to how Perry and Hickock fit into society. Additionally, since Capote creates a world in which the reader feels connected, that in turn leads the reader to feel person ally affected by the events which happen during the story.

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Thus by using imagery Capote is able to create a reader which is more connected to the story and remains on t he edge of their seats while reading it. Also in addition to using imagery when crafting his story, Capote also decided to write in the third person as a rhetorical strategy. Even though he directly rese arched the topic and could’ve wrote about the story from a first or second person perspe ctive, Capote ended up writing the story from a third person point of view in order t o open up the ability to write the story as if he was narrating it.

For example, even thoug h the book is classified as nonfiction and is based on research it feels as if it’s a novel bec ause of the way it is written. Additionally, since Capote writes the story as if he’s narra ting it he in turn is able to convey characters in a way that can only be done by novels. This in turn leads to more complex characters and a greater understanding Of why th e killers in the story did what they did. An example of this is how Capote conveys Perry S mith as possibly having antisocial disorder.

One example of this is when Perry is readi ng the newspaper about the murder he committed and he states there is a grammat ical error, showing that he was more concerned about proper grammar over that fact th at he just urdered an entire family in cold blood. (89) In addition by writing the story t his way Capote is also able to show how characters feel about something at the same time. For example, when Perry states that he thinks there has to be something wrong with him and Dick in order to do such a heinous crime Dick immediately voices his opin ion that he believes he is normal. 108) By doing this Capote is then able to add more dimension to his characters because their view on the world is more complet e and the reader feels he or she knows the character on a personal basis. Thus by decid ing to rite ” In Cold Blood” in third person Capote is able to create an atmosphere where the story feels more like a novel and the character are well developed on many le vels. Another rhetorical strategy that Capote uses is flashbacks. Capote uses flashbacks because they are able to add another level to characterization and make his characters more deep.

Also by deciding to do this, the reader is told the event of the killing early, but is still not understanding of why Perry and Dick would do suc h a crime. In turn this allows Capote to use flashbacks in order to reveal why the charact ers acted how they did. For example, during the story Perry is described as having a tro ubled past and it is evident when Dick flashes back to when he and Perry were in jail and thinks, ” Perry could be such a kid , always wetting his bed and crying in his sleep. ( 10 8) This clearly shows that Perry has emotional problems and isn’t mentally stable sin ce he is crying and wetting his bed on a regular basis. In succession, this also reveals t o the reader that Perry is unpredictable in how he acts and in turn gives more reas on as to why he would murder a family. Also another example of Perry Smith’s trouble d past is hen Perry flashes back to how he used to be beat by the nuns who took car e of him while he was a child.

This flashback is important because it makes the reader pity Perry thus in turn making the reader more personally connected to Perry and hopin g that he somehow grows as a person and prevails during the story. Another rhetorical strategy Capote uses when telling this story is symbolism. This is evident throughout the entire story and through it’s use Capote is able to gi ve events in his story a deeper meaning. For example, a symbol which Capote uses is th e silver dollar Perry finds in the Clutters’ house.

Perry is depicted in a scene as crawli ng on the floor in order to retrieve a silver dollar as loot for his crime. When put into per spective, it is clear that the silver dollar symbolizes how senseless and unnecessary the c rime was to kill a whole family just so one could be crawling on the floor to steal a girls dollar coin. Another symbol which is present in the story is Mexico. It symbolizes Dick and Perrys unrealistic hopes to achieve elegant life there when in reality theyre going to a place where opportunity is far more scarce than of that in the U. S.

Once again this s hows how enseless their plans are and that they do not think before acting and instead display antisocial traits of impulsiveness. In addition another symbol which Capote br ings to light is Dick’s and Perry Smith’s tattoos. While dick is described as having a ple thora of tattoos which are crudely designed, Perry on the other hand is described as h aving fewer, but more elaborate and professionally done tattoos. (3031) For exampl e Perry’s tattoos are described as being done by masters, ” Cookie the name of the nur se who had been friendly to him when he was hospitalized, was tattooed on his right biceps.

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