Final - My P Le EN115(English Composition In Cold Blood A...

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My P. Le EN115 (English Composition) In Cold Blood : A cinemalike fiction – non fiction 1 Truman Capote’s 1965 novel In Cold Blood was a groundbreaking book written in a style that was innovative at the time of its publishing. Capote takes a real event, puts a spin on traditional nonfiction, and makes it a novel. The story’s appeal is not the happenings themselves – which are already known; rather it lies in Capote’s style of telling the story. Anderson claims that “Capote’s style itself becomes the most important rhetorical act” (80) and that style is Capote’s “most powerful argument” (77). Professor Newman also emphasizes that “the consistent juxtaposition of seemingly opposed textual strategies—elaborate narrative supplied with a wealth of detail, on one hand, and the “silences” spoken of by Anderson” “suggest a plurality of meanings.” Taking up Anderson and Professor Newman’s insight, I will argue that Capote effectively retains the readers’ interest through suspense and tension created by the use of figurative language and avoidance of authorial interference. The book is neither a who-done-it nor a will-they-be-caught, since the answers to both questions are obvious from the beginning. Instead, the book's suspense is built on an original detective base: the promise of gory details, and the delay of crucial facts. I will prove that Capote crafts his novel like a film. Films, by virtue of their total sensory control over their audiences, also invite the identification of their viewers more readily than any other medium; so by utilizing film techniques, Capote manipulates the structures of identification necessary to wield their feelings for the killer. Based on Hollowell’s argument “the narrator never offers easy answers or a ready-made ethical framework for "understanding" the murders” (113), I will claim that the main premise of In Cold
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Blood is to create different layers of meanings, thus make readers able to ponder upon their own judgments of morality. 2 First, I will illustrate the use of figurative language and authorial silence; then, I will elaborate on how these techniques effectively create the suspense and tension in In Cold Blood . Capote’s narration is figurative – full of detailed descriptions. His figurative language involves four main factors: foreshadowing, symbolism, authenticity and character-specified motifs. Right at the beginning, Capote brings forward ominous clues from the Clutters' last days. The Bible next to Bonnie Clutter's bed is marked at the passage, ‘‘Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is.’’ Herb Clutter takes out a forty-thousand-dollar life insurance policy, which pays double indemnity in the case of murder. The family dog is scared of guns. Even Dick and Perry's plans seem ill-fated from the start; Perry tears the glove that they plan to use during the robbery, which seems highly unlucky to him. 3
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Final - My P Le EN115(English Composition In Cold Blood A...

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