“In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote Essay (Book Review)

June 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Clutter family and how they serve as an example to the All American family

The Clutter family is a symbol of the uppermost honesty of family life. Their decency is associated with the strength of their relations. They lead a thriving and admirable life. They are also famous and valued by neighborhood members (Capote 4). Moreover, they lead a regimented, but enjoyable and well-provided life.

In my opinion, the family is a good example to the American family because it was a disciplined one. For instance, the time the girls got home was by ten during weekdays, and by twelve on Saturdays (Capote 7). In addition, Clutter is known by the neighbors in the surroundings to be a kind boss who ensured that his employees were responsible; hence, they served a good example to the Americans (Capote 10).

Would justice have been served if Smith and Dick had been tried and sentenced separately?

The initial idea of robbing the Clutters came from Dick (Capote15). Despite Smith wanting to back off when they failed to find the safe they had gone for, Dick urged him to hang about and pursue through. He lied to him that there were no witnesses, making him to commit the murders (Capote15).

Smith did not intend to commit the crime. However, due to the hardships and frustrations he had come across in life, he found himself seeking for revenge. To my mind, Dick was more responsible than Smith was; hence, he deserved a harsher punishment. This would surely lead to justice.

Comparison between Dick and Smith

Smith was inventive, insightful, considerate, and smart. However, he comes from a distressed family (Capote 37). His reserved, insightful character contrasts Dick’s pretentious behavior. Dick is a self-confident, eloquent little criminal, who constantly conniving to make quick cash (Capote37).

According to me, Dick is the worst of the two. This is because he had so many advantages in life, which he could have used in order to make his life better. Because of being financially irresponsible, he leads his life away from a firm childhood to a life of insignificant faults. In addition, being the initiator of the robbery at Clutters, he backs off when the time for murder comes. Hence, he avoids being the murderer and lays the blame on Smith.


Rarely do both Smith and Dick endure traditional religion. Dick was never induced by a conception of God, and regardless of Smith being temporarily influenced by the religious Willie- Jay, he could not find in his heart to pardon the nuns hypocrisy (Capote107). In the novel, religion is considered as a convenient tool of the wealthy and influential, and its account of decency excludes people like Smith and Dick.

Hypocrisy can be seen in the sense that the two robbers are malformed from being cruel menaces and merciless individuals, whose dealings seem to disobey human judgment to burdened, sorry, completely civilized persons. The crime is made to look as a fundamental and literally reasonable set of emotional reactions. The novel seems to assert that criminality and wickedness are not different, but usual individual reactions.

Lessons learnt

It is clear that the American dream is delicate, and it only functions if trivial citizens are absent. For instance, Herb Clutter’s American view would not have been crushed if it were not for Smith and Dick. In addition, Smith’s character would not have changed if his mother were taking care of him well. I would advocate for our courts to be more reasoning and hold everyone responsible for their own actions.

For instance, Smith did not deserve to die because of a crime initiated by Dick. In addition, I would advocate for change in the Child welfare department because, if at all they had been keen on the happenings, Smith would not have been raised by a drunkard mother and would not have been raised in orphanages where he was constantly mistreated, hence killing his vision in life. By doing this, the American dream cannot be shattered by some minor details like security and the aptitude to find out one’s own fate.

Fox’s letter

Fox’s letter marks the onset of killers. A letter from Mr. Fox portrays a request for forgiveness of the murderous acts. The fact that Perry had shared with Dick the act of killing a black man makes me doubt his allegations, because he ended up killing a dog. Additionally, the letter contains no truth in it because Cluter, who is so close to Mr. Fox, come from a background that does not uphold murder.

However, there is a high possibility for the murderer to be a member of the house since the murderer knew the arrangement of the house. Therefore, this letter creates a gap between writings in the letter and the person’s own culture. This strikes us as naïve, has freshness of information, and a social interest that may prove difficult for us to share.

Works Cited

Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. New York: Random House, 1966. Print.

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