With Cold Blood From Truman Capote

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With cold blood from Truman Capote


"Cold blood" is a novel based on real events, written by the American writer and journalist Truman Capote in 1959 and published in 1966. To tell the novel, Truman Capote had to investigate a lot about the quadruple homicide in the town of Holcomb in 1959, and that is why he exercised as a testimony investigating and studying the case with a lot of depth.

The main theme of this novel is the murder of four family members:

One winter night, four members of the Clutter family were cruelly killed in their own home, in a small town called Holcomb in the state of Kansas, United States. This fact revolutionized the media and the inhabitants of the town.

At the time of murder no apparent reasons or evidence were found to accuse anyone;Only two traces were found on the ground, but these were not relevant in the investigation. Months later and through investigation by Detective Dewey and his police companions, they were able to relate Perry and Dick with a former prisonmate of both, Floyd Wells. Dead of fear, Floyd confessed that he was the one who informed Perry and Dick about the wealth of the clutter family, and informed the detectives that Dick and Perry planned a great blow to the clutter’s house.

Years later they caught Perry and Dick, the culprits of the Quadruple Crime of Holcomb thanks to the footprints that had been found in the place of homicides. Both were accused of death penalty and died hanged in the hands of the law. The main idea is the premeditated homicide of four members of the clutter family in a small town in the state of Kansas. This main idea is present throughout the book.

The protagonists of the novel are Dick and Perry;Two middle -aged men, authors of the homicides of the clutter family. They are the protagonists because the novel focuses on them.

Dewey, the detective under the case of murder is an antagonist character. This is to prevent the protagonists, Perry and Dick from reaching their goal that is to escape after committing the murder.

Secondary characters are the four members of the murdered family;Bobby RUPP, Nancy’s boyfriend and Floyd Wells, convict that I betray Perry and Smith. Floyd Wells said: He described dozens of times how they were going to do it, they act as secondary characters because despite not appearing much throughout history, their functions in the story are very important. There are also other secondary characters such as Beverly Clutter, eldest daughter of the Clutter family, which barely appear in the work. 

In the beginning, they appear to the main characters and the murder is committed;In the knot, the conflict becomes more complex and the search for the clutter murderers begins to be carried out. Finally, in the outcome the criminals are located and the conflict of the work is resolved. The external structure is also divided into four chapters: the last ones who saw them alive, unidentified people, the answer and the corner.

On the other hand, the internal structure is linear because it happens from the origin when the crimes are committed to the end when Dick and Perry are sentenced to death penalty and later hanged. The internal structure is analytical because the main idea which is homicide, is presented at the beginning of the book and secondary ideas such as the search for truth about murders, develop as history progresses. Despite being a linear structure, the work contains jumps to the past. An example of flashback in the work is at the time the author tells Perry’s childhood

The main tones used are the literary tone, the informative tone and the colloquial tone with journalistic connotations since it is a novel in which an informal language is used where the descriptions highlight. The purpose of this book is to inform and that is why it does so through very simple and concise descriptions.

The predominant style in the work is the direct style because the author reproduces the messages as he has heard them. The direct style is present in the book through the two points and the quotes. In this novel there are also present descriptions, dialogues and actions;Through them, the author tries to explain how characters, places and actions are.

The narrator present in this book is Truman Capote who acts as an omniscient narrator narrating in 3rd person from an external view. He knows at all times what they say, feel and think about the characters, but does not appear in any scene.

 An important feature that shows the role of journalism in the work is at the moment in which Capote says: "That fact had certainly brought considerable number of people of journalism". This refers to how the media had been immediately seduced by the morbidity of a quadruple murder. At the time the people met the event, journalists were already in the place of the events.

Another relevant issue is that in the novel the whole town had been prompted to spread fake messages and rumors. In the case of Holcomb, the neighborhood spread false confessions about the murder of the clutter family. These did not care about the ethics or veracity of the news they were disseminating.

In the case of "cold -blooded", secondary ideas are the search for the culprits of the quadruple premeditated murder and the exhibition of the life of the murderers. These secondary ideas expand and reinforce the main idea of the novel which is the murder of the clutter family.


  1. Capote, t. Cold-blooded. Barcelona: Anagrama Editorial, 1991.

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