Essay on “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote

The book “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote was written in 1966. The remarkable feature of this book is that it belongs to nonfiction genre based on real events. This book describes a terrible crime committed in Kansas when two offenders senselessly killed a family, both parents and two children. Truman Capote describes criminal situation and high criminal rates which become a great concern of police and society threatening public safety. Also, he unveils low morals of people and craving for money.

Help With Essay on “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote
Help With Essay on “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote

The book describes family life of the Clutters, a rich farmer’s family living in Holcomb, Kansas. The head of the family, Herbert, is described as a typical farmer with strict moral values and norms. The character of Herbert is established as a keeper of family values and traditions that play an important role in development of the entire novel. Also, also this character shows the importance of social position and status and the role of family in the society. The drawback of this description is that it is intentionally and artificially contrasted to the characters of murders and their social life.
In general, Truman Capote depicts that the crime patterns are influenced by behavior patterns of potential offenders. Two young men, Hickock and Smith, are murderers who killed an innocent family because of easy money and financial gain. Truman Capote goes boldly beyond the work of his precursors in writing about crime rates and criminality affected innocent population.  In the work the plot is based on the theme of death and individual choice of the heroes. A large part of the work is based on the psychological bahvaiour and portrait of two young men that culminated in the senseless crime. The main features of this narration include disrupted perception of the world and self, false interpretation of freedom and humans values, and rise of individualism in comparison with other characters. Before committing this crime he vividly portrays how immaculate the Clutters are. The offenders call their act “a cinch, the Perfect score” (44) dreaming about money and freedom.
The book unveils moral introspection and psychological insight offering a kind of confessional dramatizing the dilemmas of individual moral choice. Part of the irony of the book comes from the combination of the formal symmetry of structure with the apparent freedom of the murders’ artless and impulsive vitality is made acceptable by the artful manipulations of the narrator’s tone. Smith comments “I didn’t want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.” (244). To illustrate this idea, Capote includes paradoxes of punishment and altruism to show readers that there is a wide space for improvement and changes within this field. At the ends, both murders are condemned to death.
Discussing a crime, Capote analyses age factors and biological theories of crime, labeling theory and class conflict as crime causation, attitudes towards crime and violence. The aim of the book is to explain that the primary goals of punishment system are to reduce number of repeat crimes and protect citizens from possible threats, but in many cases imprisonment is ineffective and does not perform its reformatory function.
The community is depicted as passive observers and keepers of values which cannot secure the Clatters. Also, the negative feature of the book is that it portrays the necessity to accept things as they are, or the difficulty of coming to terms with our true natures, and the absurdity of confusing the gratification of our own desires with principled rebellion against the social order. And certainly, the more we ponder them the more these quiet irony. The book is full of detailed descriptions of murders’ personalities and their life, but lacks information about cultural background and social conditions of the Kansas community. In many cases, a detailed psychological analysis makes it difficult to read the book and concentrate on the plot development.
Truman Capote exaggerates psychological trauma caused by murders and the crime on rural population. The author himself appeared embarrassed at his own imaginative freedom, prefacing his works with statements which sought to legitimize the seductive appeal of fiction by appealing to some external authority.
Truman Capote bases his book on opposition between rational and social showing the role of sociological studies for other disciplines and for society in general. The author includes statements and supportive arguments of philosophers and sociologists which prevent unprepared reader to grasp the idea at once. At the end of the novel, Capote suggests that there were two ways of finding truth. One was associated with traditional kinds of logic and rational argument, and ended with a definite, single conclusion. The other method was to encourage variety, to conceive of truth as a composite, diverse quality, incapable of reduction to a simple formula. The book negatively portrays criminal investigation and police functions. Only a prisoner in the Kansas state prison hears of the murder case. Lack of police forces also forces criminals to commit crimes. The behavior theory suggests that the penalties for criminal offences are inadequate as deterrents to prevent crime. Debates about punishment as opposed to the rehabilitation of offenders continue.

In sum, this book lacks vivid description and narration which makes it bored and difficult to read. Capote underlines that once committed a crime the offender is psychologically “used” to this activity and punishment does not fear him. The critique of the police functions and work suggest that intervention activities should be directed against gang activity and drug dealing as “driven forces” to criminal behavior.
References
1.    Capote, T. In Cold Blood. Vintage; Reprint edition. 1994.

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