In Cold Blood - Claire Gardner Sylor English Honors Due...

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Claire Gardner Sylor English Honors Due: msday In Cold Bloody Mary: Motivation Behind the Clutter Killing Truman Capote’s final completed work In Cold Blood pioneered the genre of the American nonfiction novel. With a focus on the murder of the Herb Clutter family in 1950s Kansas, Capote explored the homicide and its impacts. Capote investigated facts surrounding the case in order to determine the motivation of the Clutter family killers Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock. Capote’s investigation is depicted in the 2005 film Capote directed by Bennett Miller. The theme of “Achieving the American Dream” circulates and surfaces throughout the novel and film, providing a possible explanation for the motives of the two murderers. Killing the Clutters allowed Dick and Perry to relieve frustration felt after years of failing to achieve success by robbing the Clutters of their fulfilled dreams. At the time of their death, the Clutter family could be considered an American success story. Patriarch Herb Clutter obtained success through hard, honest work and determination, and supported a large family. Capote wrote “Always certain of what he wanted from the world, Mr. Clutter had in large measure obtained it. On his left hand...he wore a plain gold band, which was the symbol...of his marriage to the person he had wished to marry...She had given him four children- a trio of daughters, then a son” (6). The Clutters were all well-educated and highly involved with their community. Members of the Holcomb, Kansas community thought of the Clutter family as pious, successful, and influential. After conducting a questioning of the surviving Clutter family members and friends, Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent Harold Nye
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