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The Impact Families Have On Individual Lifestyles

1397 words - 6 pages

Family is what you make it. The word family has many meanings. Everyone defines what being part of a family means, and what a family is in a different way. Families differ economically, socially, culturally, and so on. The nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, tells the story of the brutal murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas committed by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. In the novel the reader is able to view the role of family and how it shapes individuals. Nancy Clutter, Dick Hickock, and Perry Smith all grew up in different family settings. These family settings helped transform them into unique individuals. All three of these characters can relate to this quote, “Any two people sharing a common blood line can call themselves relatives, but only when our lives are turned upside down can we truly see if we are a part of a family.” Throughout the novel, Nancy, Dick and Perry each were faced with life troubles that affect their families differently.
Perry Smith, a sensitive and highly intelligent guy lived a hard life. Perry never really had a solid family. His parents fought constantly, both verbally and physically. The fighting led them to split when Perry was young. After the split, Perry was forced to live with his mother, whom had become a disgraceful drunkard (126). Perry’s mother quickly abandoned him, so he had to move into an orphanage. While living in the orphanage Perry was beaten for wetting the bed. Then in about the third grade Perry’s father, Tex started taking care of him. Tex tried his best at teaching Perry right from wrong, but he kept him from continuing in his education. Tex said, “Perry [was] no Angel he has done wrong many times same as so many other kids. Rite is Rite and wrong is wrong. I don’t stick up for his wrong doings. He must pay the Hardway when he does wrong…”(128) Perry the dictionary buff (22), went to school as much as possible, until his father took him out of school for getting in a fight. While Perry lived with his father he was not allowed to be creative/artistic as he so wished to be. Perry was not happy with his family and neither were his siblings. Their mother had turned his siblings against their father, but Perry continued to love him (126). All four siblings struggled through life. Two of Perry’s siblings committed suicide and the only surviving one, Barbara, did not get along with Perry. She was scared of him and didn’t approve of his decisions. Perry’s family structure played a huge role in his life. His family caused him to have both social and mental issues. These issues affected him majorly. Perry’s family life probably led to his criminal activities and the brutal killing of the Clutter family.
Dick Hickock, a smooth talking schemer, grew up in the average American family. Dick’s parents were caring and supportive of him. They had a good relationship with each other and rarely fought. The Hickock family was middle class, they weren’t poor, but they just got by with...

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