In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood as Experimental Nonfiction 11th Grade

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote reconstructs the Clutter family murder and investigation case into what Capote calls a “nonfiction novel,” an experimental type of journalism that combines the fluidity and continuity of a novel with the facts and sources of a nonfiction work while retaining the appeals of both formats. The story revolves around the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, in 1959 at the hands of Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, two seemingly clashing men whose avarice eventually leads to their downfall, with dialogue, backstory, and factual evidence to flesh out the beginning, middle, and end of the truth surrounding the travesty. As the thrill of uncovering the truth underneath the underneath breathes life into what would otherwise be a bland newspaper article, the novel slowly unravels the fallacy, deceit, and half-truths that engulf the mystery of the Clutter family’s end. It is easy to forget that the characters and events in the story were and are real due to the notion of novels being fantasy or purely imagination, but Capote’s usage of pathos, imagery, and atmosphere to elaborate on the Clutter case using his experimental nonfiction novel as a medium to portray the fruits of his...

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