In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

in cold bloodThis story was actually a nonfiction story about a crime that happened in Holcomb, Kansas. The author actually talked to the killers, holding personal interviews for the book, having a better relationship with Perry Edward Smith, then the other ex-killer, Richard Dick Hickock. Both were soon hanged to death after five years of a death row.

The Clutters were good people, rich, and widely known and respected. Mr Clutter, and his wife, Bonnie Fox, and their four children, three daughters and one son. Eveanna and Beverly had already moved out, with Eveanna already having a son, and the two young children, Nancy, who was 16, and had a boyfriend named Bobbie, and Kenyon, who was 15.

Trying to solve a murder mystery is like trying to find a golden needle in a mountain of hay. You have suspects, and you will often meet dead ends. The police worked so hard trying to find out who killed the Clutter family. It could not be Bobbie, for he was already tested, and it could not be the guy who was down the street that morning. The police, was out of ideas to find the criminal.

On the other hand, Dick and Perry had drove a long way to try and find a new life there (possibly they were escaping from their recent murder), still, the police did not suspect them yet. As these were olden times, there were not so much technology, like CCTVs, fingerprint scanners etc making the job of the police men even harder. They could only depend of witnesses and suspects.

The killings, I think, are the symbol of a class conflict; highlighting the differencen between the affluent, middle-class, (predominantly white citizens of Holcomb), working-class, mixed-race (in the case of Perry) killers. Theft is the only form of economic reason that Perry and Dick have. They have not had a chance at a proper education or a solid career. Economic problem is at the root of the murders on every level, from the initial motive for the break-in  and later on causes them to feel ashamed.

Perry and Dick’s act of killing are revealed to have underlying medical causes. Perry suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and Dick has brain damage. My question is, to what extent are they still accountable for their actions? In a larger sense, the book asked me with the question of whether the same moral standards are applicable to all people, regardless of their upbringing, background, and their life situation?

The reason why the book was called In Cold Blood, was because of the two criminals while killed the Clutter family in cold blood. They had reasons, which was mentioned in the book, but as I learnt in my Catholic class, killing is never a way to solve anything in life. It is wrong, and the criminals will always get punished in the end, whether they get away or not. The setting was like a ranch kind farm kind place. The house that the Clutters once lived was still there. Every time I read the setting part, I keep on imaging a cowboy ranch, and dessert with cactus.

Truman Capote was an American author, screen writer and playwright. Throughout his career, Truman Capote remained one of America’s most colorful authors, combining literary genius with a penchant for the glittering world of high society. He was born on September 30 1924, and died on August 25 1984. Life of someone as great as him has to end too. His writing into the psychology of human desire was extraordinary. His flamboyant life style has often overshadowed his gifts as a writer, but over time Capote’s work outlives the celebrity. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) took much of its inspiration from these experiences.


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