In Cold Blood

In what ways does Dick & Perry's legal consequence (fair or unfair) display humanity and the human condition?

Should have Dick or Perry gotten a less severe punnishment due to their mental condition? Please provide an example with a rhetorical device.

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Capote places heavy emphasis on from pages 190 to about 210 on the fact that it is Christmas time. Capote hopes to generate sympathy for the two killers, hoping that society will find them worthy of another chance, in other words redemption. By juxtapositioning the iimages of Christmas with the harsh reality of the killers, Capote subtley pushes his readers in the direction of forgiveness.


The tone at the end of the book, displays Dewey’s confused emotions at not feeling “a sense of climax” (pg. 341) at Dick and Perry’s death. Instead Dewey felt more of a climax, “leaving behind… the big sky, the whisper of wind voices in the wind-bent wheat.” (pg. 343)

Capote uses flashbacks to induce empathy for Perry. He convincingly portrays Perry’s father’s temper, mentioning a time when Tex beat his mother, and how he thought his father was going to hurt him. Capote flashbacks to reveal the nuns at the orphanage, the “black widows” (pg. 132) used to beat Perry with flashlights. His mother Flo, “took to whiskey”, (pg. 131) and the alcohol “soured her soul” (pg. 131).


One of the most important rhetorical devices written in the novel is in the form of a metaphor: “He and Dick were ‘running a race without a finish line’” (202). At this point, the two have been on the run for quite some time; they are exhausted both mentally and physically. Although the murders were committed in cold blood, the act has made their lives horrible and unfavorable. Similar to the way a race can be tiring, the murderers’ are running from the law and dodging obstacles along the way.

Should their mental conditions have had an impact on their sentence? If you look at what they did, as well as their actions afterwards, I'd have to ask why anyone would believe their conviction unfair. Capote is against the death penalty.......... the rhetoric used, in addition to citing their mental conditions os Capote's speaking out against sentencing these two "sick" men, who've led terrible live to death. This is where parties divide on whether or not the death penalty should be abolished. Capote is quite good at stating his case......... but not quite good enough :-D

Perry and Dick’s criminal tendencies are revealed to have underlying medical causes (Perry suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and Dick has brain damage from a concussion); the difficulty of the murder trial becomes, to what extent are they still accountable for their actions? In a larger sense, the book seems to grapple with the question of whether the same moral standards are applicable to all people, regardless of their upbringing and their life circumstances; or whether Perry and Dick are in some measure redeemed (at least morally, if not legally) by the fact of their mental illness, and the fact that their own lives have been so lacking.