Literature—the dictionary defines it being the art of written works that is designed to entertain, educate and instruct; writers use literature in an attempt to transfer their ideas from paper to the reader; for some, this task means bringing their story to a different place and time that is entirely separate from what the reader could perceive as ordinary, on order to serve the writer’s intent. With this the impossible, becomes the probable, and the worst fear possibly imagined becomes the breathed reality; with no stated separation between the living, and the dying. The word literature in itself cannot be accurately defined, and by attempting to do so limits, the word is instantaneously limited in its usage and effect. Literature just is, just as much as it is not.
With literature, the characters in what we read, become our closest friends and our most feared enemies; we see ourselves within the characters and struggle to imagine if we would act in the same way as the characters, or if we would struggle to handle a situation differently. Easily, their faults become our own, and whatever tragedy befalls them we could, with no difficulty, conceive happening to us. Literature, in all of its genres, has sought to compel us, entertained us, educated us, and drove us to madness. It has served as life instruction, by using the characters as the lesson plan, and we-- the students. It is sometimes blunt, sometimes ugly, and in Truman Capote’s case, is sometimes so gruesome that we do not dare forget it.
With the novels publication in the 1960s, a new genre called ‘New Journalism’ had begun to surface; it sought to combine the elements of journalism with the elements of fiction and in doing so it sought to challenge the readers morally, emotionally, and intellectually. The notion of ‘New Journalism’ consists of four major characteristics that include scene by scene action, sometimes using candid speech rather than quotations, and recording everyday details throughout the characters life; all of which Capote’s In Cold Blood does flawlessly.
In the first chapter of, In Cold Blood, is bluntly titled “The Last to See Them Alive”, in this Capote uses detailed descriptions of Holcomb, the sleepy town where a majority of the novel’s action occurs; every sentence reads as if the reader is standing in the middle of Kansas prairie: “The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them” (3). Capote also gives the readers accurate snapshots of Clutters’ family life using genuine descriptions from individuals who actually knew the family; what is revealed could be considered altogether ordinary, but in the same vein, it does almost preserve their identity, who they were both in life and in death.
In the first chapter, the readers discover Nancy, Holcomb’s own “darling”, the youngest of three daughter at...