In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

 How does her ailing health affect the other members of the Clutter family?


Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

From the text:

In regard to his family, Mr. Clutter had just one serious cause for disquiet - his wife's health. She was "nervous," she suffered "little spells" - such were the sheltering expressions used by those close to her. Not that the truth concerning "poor Bonnie's afflictions" was in the least a secret; everyone knew she had been an on-and-off psychiatric patient the last half-dozen years.

Other than a housekeeper who came in on weekdays, the Clutters employed no household help, so since his wife's illness and the departure of the elder daughters, Mr. Clutter had of necessity learned to cook; either he or Nancy, but principally Nancy, prepared the family meals.

Passing through the orchard, Mr. Clutter proceeded along beside the river, which was shallow here and strewn with islands - midstream beaches of soft sand, to which, on Sundays gone by, hot-weather Sabbaths when Bonnie had still "felt up to things," picnic baskets had been carted, family afternoons whiled away, waiting for a twitch at the end of a fishline.

She had committed herself to helping another neighbor's child, Roxie Lee Smith, with a trumpet solo that Roxie Lee planned to play at a school concert; had promised to run three complicated errands for her mother; and had arranged to attend a 4-H meeting in Garden City with her father.

Jolene had never before been alone with Nancy's "strange" mother, but despite discussions she had heard, she felt much at ease, for Mrs. Clutter, though unrelaxed herself, had a relaxing quality, as is generally true of defenseless persons who present no threat; even in Jolene, a very childlike child, Mrs. Clutter's heart-shaped, missionary's face, her look of helpless, homespun ethereality aroused protective compassion. But to think that she was Nancy's mother! An aunt - that seemed possible; a visiting spinster aunt, slightly odd, but nice.


In Cold Blood