In Truman Capote’s true crime novel “In Cold Blood”, it recalls the gruesome murders of the members of the clutter family, a much loved family that were huge members of their tight knit community in Holcomb, Kansas. The book begins from the family’s perspective and gives us insight to the lives they lived. It showed us that people really loved the Holcombs, and how, as the book describes, it was a community where no one locked their doors.
Capote is able to give his readers, an insight to the impact a loss of a human life or lives really does to others. We are given very specific details and how the Clutter family impacted Holcomb and how important and loved they were by everyone in the town and in just one night, those people who were so loved, were taken away.
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Before the night of the actual murder, we are introduced to the killers, Perry and Dick. Their pasts are unknown in the begging but what the author gives us is that they are going to get a huge score, with us having no idea what the score is. Dick does stress one thing to Perry throughout the way, “No witnesses.” It’s a very ominous foreshadowing for what’s to come.
The Clutters are found in the morning by the Nancy’s two friends, and the police show up. We are shown in gruesome that each family member has been bound and blasted with a shotgun in the head almost point blank, all with the exception of Herb, who not only has been shot, but has his throat slit.
A investigation is started right away, led by Dewey. They look for clues and leads, but almost nothing turns up. This not only shocks the town of Holcomb, but causes people to turn against one another or even leave the town with their families for good.
The way Capote drops hints and uses dramatical irony to have the reader piece together the case that others will figure is a wonderful part of the book. It causes you to want to continue each page to see if any more pieces of information is revealed or if a new clue was found.
We now switch to the killers perspectives, now long gone in mexico just the two of them, having many fantasies of their own. We find out more about their pasts too, how Perry lived a horrible childhood and the attitudes of both of them, both different yet complimenting each other in their own unique ways. It shoots a big hint to the reader that there isn’t something quite right in their head.
We then switch back to the investigators and the case, they have finally broken their first lead. Floyd Wells, who used to work for Mr. Clutter and was was Dicks, ‘bunk inmate” at the penitentiary. He exposes to the police that he told dick that the clutter family hid a safe with 10 grand inside their house, finally revealing to us what the “big score” was. The police track down the two killers and are able to bring them in when they find a stolen car that leads back to them and that they indeed, were traveling, the night of the killings.
The police are able to capture Dick in an interrogation, catching him in a web of lies and contradictions, he finally confesses. Dewey tells Perry and that everything has been exposed by Dick, and here we finally see the killers true intention and how the night went down.
It is revealed that the men were originally there for the money, but when they found nothing there, as Mr. Clutter had spent it on his family’s life insurance ironically enough, Perry wanted to leave as soon as possible. However, Dick had said what he had stressed before, “No witnesses.”. He continuously tried to rile up Perry, and Perry who had reached his breaking point to prove himself to Dick, took his knife and slit Mr. Clutters throat. The shootings quickly took place thereafter and they fled the scene.
After this the men are trialed and sentenced to death, throughout this process, we are shown that after a psychiatric evaluation, both men are definitely mentally ill, Dick had obtained his condition from the same crash the claimed his legs, and Perry suffered from Schizophrenia. The reason or motive behind the murders are decided that it was a revenge for the horrible childhoods they have been put through and the killings were a triggered response.
After both men are hung, the final scene is Dewey visiting the graves of the Clutter family where he also meets Sue Kidwell, where they both end up doing what the Author wanted people to do by reading this book, to truly see and experience the endurance of life, no matter what happens to others, even if it be death.
“In Cold Blood” was a roller coaster, amazing read from start to finish I completed probably half the book just on a plane ride to san fran, because it was such a page turner. It makes me think in a melancholy type of way, that life stops for no one, no matter what happens. To me this book is an absolute must read and I am thoroughly thrilled that I got to experience reading this.
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