In Cold Blood


"In Cold Blood" summary

Many times, people can find themselves thinking that nothing can hurt them. Things such as car accidents and robberies are all too common. Who would think to worry of such things as murder? No one would until something happens to wake everyone up, such as in Truman Capote?s "In Cold Blood". The book describes the almost unthinkable act of murder in a small town setting.
The novel is about the events and people surrounding the brutal slaying of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, a small western town. It covers the events leading up to the murders in both the victims' and the murderers' lives, the crime, and the aftermath, including the police investigation, trial,imprisonment, and eventual hanging of the two young murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith.
In Cold Blood both begins and ends with descriptions of the wheat fields around Holcomb, Kansas. Capote has said that part of his reasoning for choosing to write about the Clutter murders was the remoteness of the setting. He wanted to broaden his writing subjects beyond the too-narrow personal world with which most writers concern themselves. The setting of "In Cold Blood" matters very much to the symbolism of the plot.
The novel begins on the day that the murders take place. The Clutter family is going about their daily chores. Nancy, the town sweetheart, is contemplating about how she is to get all of her chores finished. Her father, brother, and mother are carrying on as they usually would on a Saturday morning. They are an extremely happy family that holds grudges with no one. Capote introduces the audience to the family on a personal level.
Just outside of the small town of Holcomb, Kansas awaits a man named Dick. He is waiting for a friend of his named Perry. Perry likes to travel. One of his hobbies is randomly picking a destination on a map and just going there. This is partly the reason that Dick is waiting for him.
Dick?s real name is Richard Eugene Hickock. He was born on June 6th, 1931. He is a stout, blond man with blue eyes. He was imprisoned for many different crimes. He knew that Perry liked to travel. It was because of this that Dick was able to talk Perry into going on the road trip with him.
The well - planned road trip was destined to end up at the Clutter residence. This was by design of Dick. He was the one who wanted to kill the Clutters, and whoever happened to be at the house and in the way at the time of the murders. The motive for the murders was that the Clutters were rich, even though they were extremely modest about their wealth and fame. Dick came upon the knowledge of the family?s wealth by a prisoner who was celled with Dick and had worked for the Clutters. The prisoner meant no harm in telling Dick, as the Clutters had never mistreated him, he was merely conversing.
Years passed from the time that Dick and his fellow prisoner had their discussions about the Clutters. Then, the day came: the final day of the Clutter family?s life. The tragic day of November 14, 1959. The tragedy was discovered on a Sunday morning when a young lady, by the name of Nancy Ewalt, came to the Clutter residence to get a ride to church. When she knocked on the door, no one answered. This was highly unusual, as the Clutters never slept in to miss church.
The sheriff was called out to the Clutters from a near-by teacherage by Mr. Ewalt (Nancy?s father). When the sheriff got to the Clutter residence, he and Mr. Ewalt entered the house. They climbed the stairs to come to Nancy?s bedroom first. When they opened the door, they were more than shocked. They saw Nancy lying on her bed shot in the back of the head. There was blood splattered onto the walls, and her hands and feet were tied together.
Next, came Mrs. Clutter who was in her room and had also been shot. The third person to be found was Kenyon, the Clutter son. He was in the basement, or game room, lying on the couch. He had been shot point - blank in the forehead.
Last, but certainly not least, came Mr. Clutter. He was shot