Literature, the dictionary defines it being the art of written works that is simultaneously designed to entertain, educate and instruct its audience; writers, using their skill of telling stories, 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 could be perceive as ordinary, on order to serve the writer’s intent. With this, the impossible, becomes the probable, and the worst fear imagined becomes the breathed reality; with no separation between the truth, and fiction. The word “literature” in itself cannot be accurately defined, and by attempting to do so, it limits the word not only in its usage but also its effect. Literature is just as much as it is not.
With literature, the characters we read become our closest friends and our most feared enemies; we identify with characters that resemble ourselves, and we struggle to see ourselves within the characters that are unlike us. As readers, we struggle to understand complex situations, and try to imagine if we would act in a similar matter, 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 as happening to us. Literature, in all of its genres, whether it can be classified as adventure, historical, or science fiction, has sought to compel us, entertained us, educated us, and drive us to madness. It has served as life instruction, by using the characters as the lesson plan, and we-- the students. By itself, literature 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 by using a memoir-based approach, 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...