In Cold Blood Essay

882 WordsSep 2, 20144 Pages
The publication of In Cold Blood marked a great step in the history of literary journalism. Truman Capote goes so far as to identify his work as the first of a new genre—the so-called “nonfiction novel”—and he succeeds in making a creation that does not fit into any conventional literary categories. In Cold Blood combines the extensive fact-retrieving process of journalism with the symbolic, creative style of a novel, resulting in a work neither fact nor fiction. While filled with meticulous detail only years of research could produce, Capote’s manipulation of this research makes him an active presence in his writing; it also makes the book much more subjective than he asserts that it is. The confusing debate of what is fact versus what is fiction, and In Cold Blood‘s ambivalent placement between the two extremes, bring to light the idea that it is impossible that anything in a piece of writing is or can be completely true. A central challenge to Capote’s objectivity in the nonfiction novel concerns the author’s research methods: Capote readily admits that there was a lot of transposition of facts between the actual events and the publication of the book, yet he unwaveringly contends that everything in the book is factual. Though Capote’s method of data gathering is questionable at best (authorial assertion comprises the sole proof of Capote’s fantastic memory that captures everything in an interview without a tape recorder), and the fact that a lot of his research was passed from witnesses to Harper Lee to the her notes and finally to Capote and his interpretation of these notes, it would still be inappropriate and unfounded to label his book a pure fiction; instead, we should modify his statement to say that everything in the book is factual to him. If anyone else had written the book, even using the same research and evidence that Capote used, the novel

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