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Things Fall Apart

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Truman Capote was first introduced to the story of the brutal killing of the Clutter family ??one morning in November of 1959, while flicking through The New York Times, I encountered on a deep inside page, this headline: Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain? (Capote, 3). He decided to write about the crime committed in Kansas, because ?murder was a theme not likely to darken and yellow with time? (Capote, 3). Capote promptly headed for Kansas, where he spent six years researching, solving, and writing about the unforgivable act. Truman Capote?s In Cold Blood, the final product of his years of research, is a masterfully written account of the cold-blooded murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. In writing In Cold Blood, Capote presents the blood-curdling story of the brutal killing of the Clutter family in a journalistic style, and is able to exclude his point of view on all of the events; ?The most difficult thing in In Cold Blood is that I never appear in it, but I solved it?The whole thing was done from Al Dewey?s point of view? (Newsweek, 60). Because of Capote?s immeasurable talent for writing, he is able to present factual events, just as in a journalistic article, in a style that seems similar to a fiction novel. His focus in In Cold Blood is on the facts of the events which occur before, during, and after the murder of Mr. Clutter; Kenyon, his fifteen year old son; Nancy, his 16 year old daughter; and, Bonnie, his wife. Capote?s emphasis on the facts can be seen through his thorough account of what the murderers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, took from the Clutter?s house, which was about thirty dollars from Mr. Clutter?s billfold, ??some change and a dollar or two? (239) from Mrs. Clutter, a silver dollar from Nancy, and a radio. Added up, Perry and Dick gained ?between forty and fifty dollars? (246) from their visit to the Clutter?s house. As well as being written in a journalistic style, In Cold Blood is written in a documentary style, which switches ??back and forth from the worlds of the Clutter family, and later of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, to the terrible half-world in which the two murderers live? (McCabe, 561). By writing in the documentary style, Capote is able to be specific about the thoughts, feelings, and actions of all of the characters separately, making each character?s situation and point of view clear to the reader. Throughout In Cold Blood, Perry Smith is presented to the reader as a heartless and savage murderer,



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