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Vengeance In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

2063 words - 8 pages

In this day and age the term “murder” is coined as a word used in everyday language, albeit fifty years ago in the [rural] heartland of America, that word evoked emotion out of the entire town’s population. Prior to writing In Cold Blood, Truman Capote had written several pieces that lead him to writing a piece of literature that would infuse fiction and nonfiction, thus In Cold Blood was created, albeit after six years of research (“Truman” 84). "Truman Capote is one of the more fascinating figures on the American literary landscape, being one of the country's few writers to cross the border between celebrity and literary acclaim…He contributed both to fiction and nonfiction literary genres and redefined what it meant to join the otherwise separate realms of reporting and literature." ___ In Cold Blood takes place in the rural heartland in America, capturing the lives of the Clutter family in the days preceding their murder. The story shifts to the murderers, Dick Hickock, Perry Smith, and the lives of the men prior to the events that ultimately unfold in the murder of the Clutters, although the actual events of the murder are not revealed until later in the story through Perry’s flashbacks. At this point of the story the narration switches between the fugitives and the investigation lead by Detective Alvin Dewey of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Truman Capote's novel In Cold Blood delineates justice in order to depict the disruption of an all-American society.
The disruption of an all-American society plays a key factor in In Cold Blood because of the effect it has on the story. In Holcomb, Kansas, the community’s order is disrupted through the murdering of the Clutter family. “Nevertheless, when the community lost the Clutters it was as if there had suddenly vanished from the district some natural feature which also served a practical purpose, say a mountain lake which had also provided a water supply” (West 93). In this analogy, it is comparing the loss of the Clutters and how Holcomb was basically stripped of their dignity. The only way that it can be restored is through justice; justice upon those that brought harm and disturbed the community of Holcomb. Through the deaths of the entire family, emotions of the community soon became clear: that they wanted to avenge the Clutter’s deaths. After the murders, “according to the proprietor of one Garden City hardware store, ‘locks and bolts are the fastest-going item. Folks ain't particular what brand they buy; they just want them to hold.’...In almost every house, and in brightly lit rooms, fully clothed people, even entire families, who had sat the whole night wide awake, watchful, listening. Of what were they frightened? ‘It might happen again’” (Capote 88). The effects of the murder had a tremendous rippling psychological affect on townspeople, that they were scared for their lives. After seeing the gruesome deaths of the Clutters, they feared that they might share the same fate as...

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