In Cold Blood

Describe Inspector/Detective Dewey’s dream. Does it turn out to be accurate? Why does Dewey mistrust his own premonition?


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In Al Dewey’s dream, the killers are elevated to an epic, inhuman, invincible stature – the mythology of the unsolved crime. As fugitives, they are the essence of evil, wreaking havoc on the innocent; as prisoners (as they will shortly become), they will be revealed in all their frailty and broken humanity; Capote sets up a deliberate contrast by presenting them as larger-than-life in the dream, only to undermine this perception in the scenes to follow.


Dewey is having a nightmare. He walks into a cafe and sees the killers. They leap through the plate glass window and he chases after them. He wakes up in his office. As he gets ready to leave, he gets a phone call. It is Nye, reporting that Dick Hickock has been writing checks all over Kansas City.

The narrative is written in a way that makes the reader sympathetic to Dick and Perry's situation. While Perry is waiting in the laundromat, worrying about being caught by the police, one both looks forward to and dreads his eventual capture. Now, as what was a mystery becomes a manhunt, the suspense becomes less cerebral and more physical. Just as Dewey dreams of chasing the killers down the street, so does the reader imagine what the confrontation between Perry and Dick and the KBI will be like.