Psych Central Staff

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Capote shows Perry Smith’s self appraisal when expressing his thought of myself being very intelligent and artistic through Perry’s personal notebook. The notebook was Smith’s personal “dictionary We can see Smith had the tendency to be verbally facile, that had tons of odd words and facts, displaying an obvious sign of (PAD). The progression of Perry’s disorder can be drawn all the way back to his childhood, when he experienced some traumatic events.

The causes of this disorder, according to the article by Psych Central Staff, occur from events that take place during childhood that negatively impact a child’s ability to cope with stressful situations. Perry grew up in a very unstable household for part of his childhood. He also spent a portion of his childhood in a neglectful and abusive orphanage. “She woke me up. She had a flashlight, and she hit me with it. Hit me and hit me. ” page 93.

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Perry also felt ripped away from his father; the man he praised and looked up too, by his alcoholic mother when he was still a young boy after his parents divorce. Both these events put Perry through an emotional toll that shaped his mindset as well as behavior as a young boy that caused him to developed his antisocial personality disorder. A second example of Perry’s (PAD) is expressed through his inability to remember his actions during the homicide, showing his lack of empathy, as well as Perry’s dreams based off a previous traumatic experience, displaying his lack of ability to cope.

According to the article these are common symptoms of (PAD). Clearly Perry was not in the right state of mind during the incident but instead raging with anger, explaining why he couldn’t recall anything from the murder except for a few sounds and sights. This shows a lack of empathy a common trait for someone with (PAD). Perry had a ream one night, of the nun beating him with a flashlight, just like when he was a young boy, but this time the angelic parrot rescued him.

The parrot shows up when Perry’ is being physically threatened, allowing to feel a sense Of relief from the situation. He writes the parrot “blinded the nun with its beak, fed upon her eyes, slaughtered them as she “pleaded for mercy,” then so gently lifted him, enfolded him, winged him away to “paradise”‘. Peg. 93. His dream demonstrates his wish to have the ability to cope and deal with stressful situations while they are actually taking place.

Perry’s dreams are his coping method, however his coping method of dreaming will be stretched too thin to where they will no longer help, and it will soon impact someone’s life in which they will need serious treatment, according to the Antisocial Personality Disorder Article. Perry is described to make impulsive decisions. For example Perry has a reoccurring dream of him reaching to take a bushel of diamonds from a tree, even though he knows the consequence is being swallowed entirely by a giant snake.

He makes the decision to take the diamonds every time, without question, splaying his pure disregard for logical thinking and patience. Another instance of his impulsively taking place, can be seen through the homicide that took place. Perry made the rash decision solely due to the fact of not seeing his friend Willie-Jay. Perry makes it very clear he did not think he would see Willie again, so he made the decision to join Dick in the murder, off of pure frustration. Perry failed to plan ahead which caused him to make this impulsive decision, displaying a common sign of antisocial personality disorder, presented by the article.

In all accounts, Capote, author of the nonfiction novel “In Cold Blood”, clearly expresses society judgmental views towards the murderers, claiming them as dangerous psychopaths, overlooking their complex disorders. However Capote describes the main character Perry Smith, not as a psychopath, but a man who suffers from a disorder, caused from traumatic events as an adolescent. When interviewing Perry Smith, Capote recognizes his issues of self appraisal, as well as lack of coping mechanisms, and impulsively as obvious symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder.

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Psych Central Staff. (2018, Apr 01). Retrieved from

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