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Book Review - In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

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Introduction

ENG 2D0 June 2nd, 2003 Book Review In Cold Blood by Truman Capote "Oh, no! Oh please. No! No! No! No! Don't! Oh, please don't! Please!" (245). These were the last desperate words to be uttered by Nancy Clutter before she was savagely murdered. In Cold Blood, explicitly narrated by Truman Capote, is the true story of a brutally unexpected murder. Through this novel, Capote brings to life the harsh realities of a horrendous crime committed on the high wheat plains of western Kansas. A quiet all-American family was murdered during the bleak early hours of November 15th, 1959. As Capote recreates the murder, the investigation that led to the capture, the trial and the execution of the killers, he generates compelling suspense and empathy. The narrative embodies a twisted plot that grips you and forestalls you from putting it down. This book has more than one main character essentially because these two characters are the reason for the entire plot. Throughout the first half of the book, the reader basically chases after the murderers, Richard Eugene (Dick) Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Perry and Dick were familiar with each other since they had celled together at Kansas State Penitentiary. ...read more.

Middle

Suspicious, self-righteous, he was like a wife that must be got rid of." (215). Dick's opinion of Perry is quite apparent from this quote; he clearly intends on getting rid of Perry. By trying to be something he is not, Perry allows himself to be mistreated by Dick. He literally does everything Dick does and trails behind him ignorantly. Planning the murder was all Dick's idea, and initially, he intended Perry to be his silent partner. Due to this conflict between Dick and Perry, Perry committed the murders, predominantly to impress Dick. The murders themselves become another conflict that Perry has to face. In the months after the slayings, he is haunted by the voices of the victims. Perry has to confine himself to a life of regret and unfulfilled dreams. Dick's main conflict is facing up to his parents' expectations. His parents raised him to be a fine law-abiding individual. However, Dick's character betrays his parents' hopes and trust. Through the work of four critically scrutinizing investigators, the cold heartless murder of the four members of the Clutter family is finally resolved and the culprits are caught. On December 30, 1959, Perry & Dick were arrested out in Las Vegas by two regular patrol officers. ...read more.

Conclusion

This technique builds up the excitement and thrill of the events. The chapter in which Perry confesses is lengthy and is written in present tense thus emphasizing its importance. As I researched the background of this book, I found out that Capote started writing this novel because he got deeply attached to the story. At the time that the murder took place, Capote was a news reporter for Timelife and was given the job of writing a piece on how the killings had devastated a happy, tight-knit little community. He was in the town writing his piece when the suspects were actually caught, at which point the story takes off. During the chapter consisting of the trial, Capote writes as if he were watching from afar and does not entirely engage the reader in the scene, but rather, he presents it as if it were being seen thorough glass. This style of writing credits to Capote's journalism skills. It allows the reader to be the audience and analyze the situation as they see it; the reader is basically the judge in the trial. This book really makes you think about the issue; murder is something that society constantly faces. This narrative basically allows you to understand and reflect on the different aspects of human nature. Zainab Shaikh ...read more.

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