In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood :

Truman Capote

Book Information :

Author : Capote, Truman

Title : In Cold Blood

Publisher : Random House

Original Publication Date : 1965

Book Outline :

In a small town in Kansas a family of four was murdered for no apparent reason. The murderers ran for a few years and finally they were caught, tried and accused for murder. In 1965 they were hung for the crime. In the story a family was killed for no reason. This well respected farming family had no enemies and no quarrels. Although they were wealthy, Mr. Clutter never kept cash in the house. The whole region and eventually the country were shocked by the randomness and brutality of the act, in much the same way it was by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The two men in which didn't even know the Clutter family went into their house and shot all four of them. There were two main characters. Dick is the first one that I will talk about. Dick was 33 years old and he did not have the best character. Dick was one who helped participate in the killing of the Clutter family. I didn't like him from the very beginning. He struck me as the type that is your friend one minute and enemy the next. Perry is the other character that I will talk about. Perry wasn't as bad as Dick but yet he still struck me as having a bad character for what he did to the family. It took me awhile to get a good impression of Perry. Perry was a really nice guy and I think that he just got mixed in with the wrong crowd. At the beginning, when they first started to kill all of the family members, they had them tied up and Perry didn't want to kill the family but he thought that if he acted like he was going to kill Mr. Clutter then Dick would stop him. Then they would let them all go but when Dick didn't stop him Perry became a mad man and went ahead and killed the whole family. Later at the gallows Perry started to have second thoughts a little too late so he tried to starve himself but didn't succeed. He was finally hung, during the hanging period he apologized to everyone for what he did.

"This is it, this is it, this had to be it, there's the school, there's the garage, now we turn south." To Perry, it seemed as though Dick was muttering jubilant mumbo-jumbo.

They left the highway, sped through a deserted Holcomb, and crossed the Santa Fe tracks. "The bank, that must be the bank, no we turn west-see the trees? This is it, this has to be it." The headlights disclosed a lane of Chinese elms…bundles of windblown thistle scurried across it. Dick doused the headlights, slowed down and stopped until his eyes were adjusted to the moon-illuminated night. Presently, the car crept forward. This passage was chosen because it was what Dick and Perry were saying right before they went to the Clutter house and killed the family. I feel that this quote is an important one. To me I feel that it suggests that the accused were out to commit a robbery and had no original intent to kill the Clutters. Due to Mr. Clutter not keeping any money in the home, the criminals were unable to locate any money to steal. The criminals then proceeded to kill the family of four. I feel that the murderers used the Clutters as a way of removing their anger from not being able to locate the money they were looking for. The book follows the story to the trial and execution of the killers and spares few details throughout. The outcome of the trial was guilty and the punishment was death by hanging the accused. One of the main points I saw by reading this book was the way the country / region viewed itself after the murder occurred. Many were shocked by the murder. I feel that if the murder had of occurred in today’s society people would not have been as shocked as they were then. When the story was based, not as many murders existed and this crime was just a total outrage to the normal society. Why is the book on the Law reading list? Legal aspects of the book…I feel this book is on the law reading list because it provides the story that is based on law characteristics. In the story criminal law is presented. While reading the book I noticed many crimes that were later resolved in a court of law. The book presented the arrest, trial and eventual conviction/execution of the accused. This provides an excellent law guideline showing how justice was served. The legal aspects of the book include the arrest of the accused, the trial that the killers had to under go, and the decision for execution of the accused.

My Opinion on the Book from reading this book I learned that even though you think that you can trust someone you really can't. It made me realize that not all people are good natured. It also made me realize that your mind can be changed by your friends. I felt this book was well written, and provided a good story line. It included a good combination of crime which eventually leads to law and order. I enjoyed reading the book and would recommend it to others taking the law program.

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