Rayven Bailey Summer Reading
Not much happened in the final chapter “The Corner.” In the beginning of this section Dick and Perry are incarcerated and waiting for their trial. Dick and Perry are not allowed to stay together, so Dick is put in county jail, while Perry stays at Wendle Meier, the sheriff, and his wife’s home. Perry actually ends up thinking as the Meier’s as friends, because they treat him so well. In this chapter readers find out the truth about what happened the night of the murder. Perry admits that he killed the entire Clutter family, and Dick didn’t kill the two women. During their time locked up, both consider escaping but both of their plans are put to an end. Perry also considered suicide and that’s when their sanity was considered, but both turned out to be legally sane presently and the time of the killing. Officials then look over the statement that Perry made after the killings, he said they couldn’t stop laughing and felt high while they burying evidence and cleaning themselves up. By this time all of the factual and physical evidence was found by investigators and they were ready for trial. Both Dick and Perry were supplied with lawyers even though they truly didn’t have a chance of winning this case. During the time period of the trial, Perry tells an old friend that he is not sorry and feels no regrets for the crime in which he committed. Also, during this time, the property and belongings of the Clutter’s are finally sold, including Nancy Clutter’s horse Babe. The trial finally comes to an end, when both Dick and Perry are not only found guilty, but they’re also sentenced to death. Dick and Perry are both required to stay at death row for a total of five years. During these five years, they both attempt to do things that they think will appeal their conviction such as, playing crazy and even looking for attorneys to appeal their convictions. At the end of the day they were both very unsuccessful, because on April 14, 1964 Dick and Perry were put to death. Capote leaves readers with a more positive feeling, where Susan Kidwell and Al Dewey met in a graveyard. Susan talks about how she is now attending college and living in New York, just like she and her best friend Nancy had planned, showing us that both Al and Susan had moved on and were living in the present.
One quote that really stood out to me was found on page 303 when Judge Tate says, “Regardless of who pulled the trigger on Richard Eugene Hickock’s shotgun, both men are equally guilty.” This quote may be one of the most important statements in the book, because this is when readers find out that justice is served for the Clutter. In other words, this is when Capote lets us know that Dick and Perry sentenced to death. What this quote adds to In Cold Blood, is its sense of closure. Capote finally lets readers know what happens to the two criminals in the ends, and that’s something we’ve been waiting to find out throughout the entire novel. This quote stood out to me in particular, because I agree with the judge’s statement. Everyone is focused on pointing fingers, when in reality they both thought through the plans and knew what they were doing when they did it. Another reason I identified with this quote is because of my religion. I’ve always been taught that God views all sins equally, and that’s the way we should see them as well. Therefore, no matter who shot who or how many people, both of the crimes they committed were equally as evil. I must add on some things that disagree with on his statement. Isn’t killing Dick and Perry, just as bad as them murdering the Clutter family? This is one of the reasons I don’t know if I completely agree with the death penalty, because it’s like trying to fight fire with fire. This quote foreshadows that the two criminals, Dick and Perry, would spend a miserable time in death row, and it reveals that they will both be put to death. The second quote I noticed was when Capote wrote, “Death row is known as the corner.” This quote is very important, because it explains to the readers why the name of the chapter is “The Corner.” This quote reveals that in “the corner” of Lansing Penitentiary, there is a small enclosure called death row, and when people go to the corner, that means they are being killed. One reason this quote stood out to me is because of Truman Capote’s pure brilliance, intelligence and cleverness once again. I think it is so unique to take such an irrelevant topic, and make it the name of the entire topic. Capote probably made “The Corner” the name of the chapter in order to bring more attention to the small but powerful statement. In my opinion, this quote is trying to foreshadow the fact that Perry and Dick are going to end up in that corner, sooner or later. Like I said before, this quote reveals the meaning behind the name of the entire chapter.
Once again, one of my favorite things about this piece of literature is Capote’s use of rhetorical devices. One I noticed on page 275 was when Perry Smith said, “I loved my father but there were times when this love and affection I had for him drained from my heart like wasted water.” This is an example of a simile. A simile is the comparison of two different subjects, using the words like or as. The simile was used when Perry said his love for him drained “like” wasted water. This simile enhances the meaning of what Perry is saying, because he describes his love for his dad as wasted, almost as if it was a waste of energy and a waste of time. Without this device we wouldn’t understand how much pain Perry is truly in, because of his father. Capote placed the simile in this specific spot, because Perry was trying to be claimed as psychotic. Capote is telling us that, Perry tried and attempted to love his father, but his father always turned his back on him leaving him bitter and in so much pain. Perry wanted his father text to love him, but all he ever did was turn his back on Perry and neglect him. After a while Perry just gave up on trying so hard to earn his father’s love, and drained all of the love and affection like wasted water from his heart. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable. Capote gives an excellent example of a metaphor on page 272, “Wearing an open-necked shirt (borrowed from Mr. Meier) and blue jeans rolled up at the cuffs, [Perry] looked as lonely and inappropriate as a seagull in a wheat field. Using the metaphor, Capote compares Perry in court to a seagull in a wheat field. Capote’s description of Perry explains to readers how out of place Perry was, because of using the metaphor. The author places this statement in the courtroom scene, in an attempt to build tension. Without the use of this metaphor, I don’t think readers would understand the severity of how unprofessional and pathetic Perry not only looked but felt in this setting. The last use of rhetorical evidence I noticed were the very last words of the novel. “The whisper of the wind voices in the wind-beat wheat.” This is an example of alliteration which is, the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. Capote uses alliteration seamlessly by using only words beginning in Whi- or W. I believe Capote placed these words at the very ending of the book, because not only did he want to close it off with a sense of peace, but he also wanted to end the book speaking about scenery, just as he started the piece of literature off with. At the very beginning of this book in The Last to See Them Alive, you can find Capote narrating on the beautiful hills of wheat and I think it’s very unique and creative to have ended the book in the same fashion. This practically showed that although their town went through a treacherous time, they rose up and made it through perfectly fine. The use of alliteration adds a sense of closure, peace and ultimately unity in the town of Holcomb.
How could there possibly be only one theme when it comes to this astonishing piece of literature? There are so many themes involved within In Cold Blood including loss of innocence, evil/sociopaths, dreams failed, dreams achieved and so many other topics. When it comes to the loss of innocence so many characters in the novel have experienced that, so that’s why it is so important throughout the text. Perry’s innocence was taken away when he was hurt by his father, mother, orphanage and own family as a child. Dick and Perry took away the innocence of four awesome lives, including “innocent” children. This just goes to show that when you lose your innocence, you lose yourself. The theme of “dreams failed and dreams achieved” plays a huge role in this piece of literature, because that was basically the whole reason the Clutter family was killed. Dick and Perry were underachievers, didn’t reach their goals and weren’t living the rich life that they both had dreamed of. In return they killed a family that were very successful, rich, full of character and ultimately just like you and I. The last theme that I wanted to focus on was the evil and the sociopaths. When I hear the word evil I immediately think of the character Perry Smith, and when I hear his name I think of the word sociopath. Like I said in previous essays, he is someone that can charm anyone he meets, but is truly evil in his heart. I’m not calling Perry evil just because he killed the Clutter family, but because he said he doesn’t regret a thing he did and that he feels no remorse. On top of this he states that he laughed hysterically after the killings. That is my perfect definition of sociopath.
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote was such an awesome piece of literature. Like I have said time and time again, Capote is such a unique and clever artist/author. Anyone who can turn this boring, gloomy and tragic true story into something so powerful and intriguing, deserves to be called a master mind. Aside from Capote, this story has made me open my eyes and has helped me to realize the world in which we live in. In the heart I almost feel heartbroken for the Clutter family, but for Nancy in particular. I think this is because I can relate most to Nancy, since she’s a teenage girl, heavily involved in the community, and has huge dreams and plans for herself. I feel heartbroken, because she never got to experience the things that she wanted most in life such as going to college, moving to New York with her best friend, getting married, and so much more that she never got to do because her life was taken away from her too soon. In the mind, I must admit that the story, “In Cold Blood” makes me a little paranoid. If I hear a creak downstairs at night, my heart starts to race and I immediately take defense. This may be because I’m a “scaredy cat”, but thinking about someone killing my whole family freaks me out! Although In Cold Blood did quite frighten me, it truly has opened my eyes to what some people in world are really like and what people are capable of. Truman Capote did a great job of helping me to be aware of my surroundings. If there is anything I’m taking from this piece of literature, it is to live life to the fullest because anything could happen in the blink of an eye. Like I’ve said numerous times Truman is such a clever artist, and he is the reason In Cold Blood is such a unique novel. Anyone who not only takes a true story and turns it into an astonishing, mysterious novel, but also finds out every detail of every event, is a clever person in my eyes. Capote’s dedication to the story shows in his writing, and that is what makes the book not only interesting to read, but unique. Another reason this book stands out and is so unique is because of it’s variety. In this piece of literature, Capote made you feel bored, anxious, angry, sympathetic, angry again and said all at the same time. His clever usage of moods, are what kept readers hooked, rather than them feeling one emotion throughout the whole novel. I am so excited that In Cold Blood was assigned as our summer reading, because this book opened so many windows for me. I am specifically happy that I was able to read some of Capote’s work, because until now I had never heard of him, and I think I could really look up to him as a writer, given that I want to minor in journalism. In Cold Blood was one of a kind, and a novel that I will carry in my memory long from now.