In Cold Blood

Truman Capote: A Child's True Nature in "Miriam" 11th Grade

Two people, one name: an inconspicuous, plain woman versus a poised young girl. A line is drawn between imagination and reality, but that line is blurred. In "Miriam" by Truman Capote, symbolism is incorporated to show that Mrs. Miller is living through the past in the present. A mere child is used to represent the haunting, distorted forces of human nature, and the exposure of one’s true instinct is brought out through realization and confrontation. In multiple aspects, Miriam’s distinctive character symbolizes the rising of a mental illness, schizophrenia, that leads to the destruction of Mrs. Miller’s subconscious mind.

To start, Miriam’s appearance separates her from the typical children. She has silver-white hair and dresses in a “tailored plum-velvet coat”, complementing the elegance in how she is positioned (Capote 3). Her eyes are “hazel, steady, lacking any childlike quality whatsoever”, presenting a confident, strong-willed character (Capote 7). At the same time, this demeanor also suggests a loss of purity and innocence, because experience may have withdrawn the bright gleaming that was once in her eyes. She demonstrates a large vocabulary and speaks as though she possesses the mind of an adult; this points out the...

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