In Cold Blood Theme

Categories: In Cold Blood

There are numerous popular styles in the novel In Cold Blood, and they cover a broad spectrum of topics. They consist of the results (if any) triggered by environment in youth, how an individual of any of place can be a victim of hostility, and the presence of contrasting personalities.

Truman Capote gives the reader a comprehensive account of Perry Smith’s and Cock Hickock’s youths. Smith’s youth was very bothersome and scarred by years of abuse. He experienced beatings of his mother by his daddy; as an outcome of the domestic violence, his parents divorced.

Due to these issues he rans far from home, and he was “in and out of detention houses often times” (277 ). He is badly beaten and humiliated by a home mistress since of a mixuration malfunction. These violent episodes obliged his bitterness towards other humans. When Smith entered the adult years, he devoted acts of thievery and acts of battery. While in the merchant marines, he when tossed a Japanese policeman off a bridge and into the water.

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All these events had an effect on Smith, and his adulthood offered him with the opportunity to avenge the experiences that enraged him.

Hickock’s youth was marked by no horror stories. His years of childhood showed no signs of abuse or neglect, however his moms and dads were a little overprotective. He showed no real contempt for his parents or his youth. Dick’s beginning into adulthood reveals his unusual “propensities,” (Reed 115) and in the unique evidence is given by Hickock: “I think the primary reason I went there [the Clutter home] was not to rob them however to rape the woman” (278 ).

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The two killers’ childhoods were certainly different, and their distinctions give question the formation of a killer’s mind. Is it childhood that impacts the criminal mind’s mentality? Smith’s absence of companionship during his youth led him to look for friendship in Hickock. Hickock took advantage of Smith’s need by promoting Smith’s fantasies. Hickock truly felt that Smith’s fantasies were ludicrous, but he supported his fantasies since he needed Smith’s help to dedicate the murders.

A second theme of In Cold Blood is the randomness of crime. The Clutter family lived in rural Kansas hundreds of miles from a major city, and people of this small community felt a sense of security. The Clutter family murder made national headlines because this crime fit no stereotype. The Clutter family was well loved and respected by the people of Holcomb, who would have never seriously considered a such a crime happening in their own backyard.

The Clutter family was successful financially; they lived as well as any other family in town. However, there was no jealousy of the family’s success. This is another one of many reasons why this murder consternated the inhabitants of Holcomb, the investigators, and the rest of the nation.

Another theme throughout In Cold Blood is the attraction of opposite personalities and what they can become once united. The reader sees these opposing personalities in Hickock and Smith. The first scene of Perry Smith is with a guitar and a set of road maps. The guitar appears to function as a feminine image and symbol.

The reader also learns that part of what attracts Hickock to Smith is that Hickock fells “totally masculine” by this association. In one scene the contents of the criminals’ automobile is mentioned. One of Perry’s possessions is the guitar, and the “instrument that typifies his combative companion Dick… a twelve gauge pump-action shotgun.” Another instance of Smith’s feminism is Hickock’s constant addressing of him as “sugar,” “honey,” and “baby.” Smith’s feminine qualities are evident; however, the reader is left to interpret their importance (Reed 113-114).

In conclusion, there are many different themes throughout the novel. In Cold Blood discusses the issues of childhood influences, the randomness of a crime, and opposing personalities. These themes are unique in that they they can be molded into a nonfiction novel such as In Cold Blood.

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In Cold Blood Theme. (2016, Nov 30). Retrieved from

In Cold Blood Theme

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