In Cold Blood Essay

639 WordsApr 3, 20123 Pages
In Cold Blood tells the true story of the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959. The book is written as if it were a novel, complete with dialog, and is what Truman Capote referred to as "New Journalism" — the nonfiction novel. Although this writing style had been used before, the craft and success of In Cold Blood led to its being deemed the true masterwork of the genre. For Truman Capote, it was the last in a series of great works, which included Breakfast at Tiffany's, Other Voices, Other Rooms, and The Grass Harp. In Cold Blood was originally published in four parts in The New Yorker and then released as a novel in 1965. In Cold Blood took six years for Capote to research and write, and it took an incredible toll on Capote, personally — so much so that he never published another book again. In Cold Blood is said to have been his undoing. The book tells the story of the murder of the Clutter family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their two teenage children, Kenyon and Nancy (two older daughters were grown and out of the house), and the events that lead the killers to murder. The family was living in Holcomb, Kansas, and in November 1959, they were brutally killed, with no apparent motive, by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The family was discovered bound and shot to death, with only small items missing from the home. Capote read about the crime in The New York Times soon after it happened, and before the killers were caught, he began his work in Kansas, interviewing the people of Holcomb and doing extensive research with the help of his friend Harper Lee, who would go on to write the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Perry and Dick initially get away with the murder, leaving behind scant clues and having no personal connection with the murdered family. Capote explores the motive again and again within his text, eventually concluding

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