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Literature Study GuidesIn Cold BloodPersons Unknown Part 5 Summary

In Cold Blood | Study Guide

Truman Capote

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In Cold Blood | Persons Unknown (Part 5) | Summary



Alvin Dewey continues to visit the Clutter house to think and try to figure out his next steps in the case. He holds to the idea that whoever killed the Clutters was known by them and had done it partially out of hatred. He remembers his wife Marie's dream about Bonnie Clutter. In the dream, Marie is cooking dinner in their kitchen when Bonnie appears. Marie invites her in, but Bonnie just stands at the door, wringing her hands and whimpering. Marie hugs but can't comfort Bonnie, who "shook her head, and wrung her hands." Finally, Marie understands what Bonnie is saying—"To be murdered. No. No. There's nothing worse, nothing worse than that. Nothing." After selling their car for cash, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock take a 50-hour bus ride from Mexico City to Barstow, and then hitchhike through the Mojave Desert, planning on strangling the first solitary driver who picks them up for cash. When a car finally appears, the driver takes one look at the "bearded, stark, dusty figures" and roars off. Perry, who had mailed a box of his belongings to himself in Las Vegas, begins playing their "marching song" on a stolen harmonica—"Glory, Hallelujah." Though hungry and tired, Perry and Dick are happy to be back in the States.


Alvin Dewey continues to believe a psychopathic hatred, or a combination of "hatred and thievery," was the motive behind the Clutter murders, particularly Herb's. The murders were, in fact, fueled by Perry Smith's psychopathic hatred and rage. Although not angry at the Clutters per se, he vented his rage—which was separated from his sense of morality—upon them. It takes time for Dewey to figure out what happened; as time goes on, the case takes a toll on him. The Clutters are not the first people to be murdered on Dewey's watch, but this was the worst case Dewey investigated. And the longer the case goes unsolved, the more fear affects the residents of Holcomb. Back in the states, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith plan to kill again for money. Hitchhiking across the Mojave, they scare off one potential target just by their appearance. They laugh about this because they're not yet desperate, although they will become so.

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