Book Analysis: In Cold Blood
Cold Blood In the literary world, the concept of using a silent narrator is complex. The novel In Cold Blood was the first nonfiction novel published In an era of Journalism. Capote gained many fans and critics. Truman Capote, in his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood effectively uses a silent narrator to influence the reader’s opinions of characters based off of actions and words, but as the novel continues capote begins to reveal his true opinions and thoughts to the reader.
As the novel begins, Capote strictly conveys to the reader every detail about the Clutter family and allows the reader a full understanding of why the city of Holcomb Is In great fear and shock from the family’s murder. The family is so well described by Capote that he makes the reader feel as if he/she are part of the family and present with them. The reader does not know how Capote has any relation to the murder cases or the Clutter family; he/she only knows that the family is to be murdered by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith.
By not Informing the reader of his personal opinions and thoughts and focusing only on the life of the Clutters, Capote allows the reader o believe he/she are forming opinions and basing conclusions of the Clutter family and their murder cases alone. In the second section of the novel, Persons Unknown, Capote writes about Perry’s life and his background. The reader learns that Perry has had a hard life. HIS mother became an alcoholic who died by choking on her own vomit as she slept, his brother Jimmy led his wife to commit suicide then followed the day after. nd his sister Fern threw herself out of a fifteen story window. The reader also learns that Perry was constantly In and out of orphanages where he was poorly mistreated for always etting the bed due to weakened kidneys. The nuns in the orphanages abused him continuously In a variety of cruel ways. By focusing on Perrys background that led him to where he is now, Capote makes the reader feel sympathy and begin to actually adore Perry and believe he has innocent features to his personality. When Officer Nye arrives at Mrs.
Johnson’s house curious about Perry, she describes Perry as “gentle. He cries so easily. Sometimes music sets him off, and when he was a little boy he used to cry because he thought the sunset was so beautiful. Or the moon” (182). The reader begins to wonder how a boy, who finds joy in the little things In life, can become a murderer. The softer side of Perry becomes more visible. Seeing the more heartless side of Perry by his amazement of how many arrived at the Clutter’s funeral rather than feeling guilty, Capote writes “a thousand people!
Perry was impressed. He wondered how much the funeral had cost” (96). Instead of realizing what a toll he had taken on the city of Holcomb, Perry Is pleased with his work and makes it evident his only concern is money. Having exposed both sides of Perry, Capote manages to push the reader away from hating Perry, but closer to ympathizing for him. By Innuenclng tne reader to Tavor Perry along wltn nlm, capote makes It easler to hate Dick. When Dick and Perry were driving down a road in the desert, they passed a dog walking along the side of the road.
The dog was “an old half-dead mongrel, brittle-boned and mangy’ (112). Dick then swerves out of his way only to hit the dog, “which was something he did whenever the opportunity arose” (113). Dick replies with “boy! We sure splattered him! ” (113). When Capote includes the small things Dick does, theyre big enough to affect the reader’s opinion on him. Capote makes it clear ow he does not like Dick and wants the reader to feel the same. To Capote, planning the murder of the Clutter family was not enough to fully get the reader to dislike Dick.
He writes about other minor things that contribute to Dick’s character. When Dick and Perry are on the beach in Miami, Dick approaches a girl, no younger than twelve. He says to her “you’re my baby girl. My little sweetheart” (201). Leaving the reader disgusted, Capote accomplishes his goal of making he/she disgusted with Dick. By writing only about Dick’s pitiful actions and poor aspects to his personality, Capote nly shows the reader what he wants him/her to see. Capote is also eliminating a chance to base a different opinion about Dick.
Many say Capote effectively uses a silent narrator throughout the entire book while other can argue that although he begins to slip and let his opinions affect his writing, it still positively adds to the book. Truman Capote, in his nonfiction novel In Cold Blood effectively uses a silent narrator to influence the reader’s opinions of characters based off of actions and words, but as the novel continues Capote begins to reveal his true opinions and thoughts to the reader. Word Count: 841