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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote Extract Commentary

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Sagar Khandelwal English Lang/Lit 22/02/2012 11RP In Cold Blood Extract Commentary The journalistic nonfiction novel ?In Cold Blood? by Truman Capote tells the story of the killings of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. In an extract from the book, Capote quotes a confession by Perry, one of the criminals trialed for the murder of the family, to the KBI agent in charge of the investigation, Alvin Dewey. The confession follows after Perry found out that his partner in crime Dick had told the authorities his version of the truth of what happened at the night of the murders. The passage includes the statement made by Perry, which is quoted by him in order to tell the reader exactly what happened from Perry?s perspective. The narrator is Capote, a third person viewing into the events taking place, though he offers no personal judgment. The extract is the climax of the novel, explaining the main event, which the reader has been waiting to be informed about since the beginning of the book. ...read more.


One begins to think that it is Dick that should take the blame for all the murders, as Perry has shown no intention of killing the family. But because the confession of Dick earlier on in the book stated that his compatriot slaughtered all four of them, it is unclear what is going to happen. The effect of suspense still lasts during this sentence, with the reader now finally ready to find out the actions of Dick and Perry. There was clear tension between the pair during this situation, as Dick had proposed to rape Nancy before they had taped Herb Clutter. Perry disagreed to Dick?s intention in disgust, which led him to question his admiration for Dick. He now wanted to ?call his bluff? and expose that Dick ?was a phony and a coward?. To do this, Perry asked for Dick?s knife and he gave it to him. Throughout the whole state of affairs Dick had remained silent, showing possible doubt, which Perry wanted to exploit. ...read more.


After the murder of Herb Clutter, the perspective changes to that of Capote and he summarizes the killings of Nancy and Kenyon Clutter. Capote uses Dick and Perry?s last names instead of their first names, with an intended effect to distance the writer from the two characters, because he wants to stay as unbiased as possible due to the genre of the novel being journalistic nonfiction. In conclusion, the passage made up of Perry?s confession is the climax of the novel by Capote. The speech techniques used by Perry add to the suspense of the story, although it is questionable if Perry himself explained the situation in these exact words or if Capote altered the quote by Perry, as he never took any notes while interviewing the criminals. As the use of quotes unintentionally helps readers to sympathize with Dick and Perry, Capote then uses his perspective and their last names to distance the readers from the characters, to show that he himself shows no bias in his newly found genre, journalistic nonfiction. ...read more.

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