In the below forum response in (Part II), we discussed the potential
of skewed characters in In Cold Blood. Please respond to this classmates and discuss whether you agree or disagree with his or her analysis. Is the character an accurate portrayal? Your response should be at least 200 words and should include sufficient support for your argument.
I reviewed the Frost Interview Clip of 1969 concerning the definition of Friendship and Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySkwEXDVgEg my first impression is one of Woody Allen, carefree or even John Lennon like, as a member of the social elite. A certain feeling that he thinks that he is the smartest man in the room and knows it. I imagine he did not have a difficult time in Kansas and even with the cultural differences of a small town compared to New York, he would have had the ability “to get the story.” Often times it is just finding the right words to say to people, he may have had to adjust to them, not them having to adjust to him. Capote may have even called upon his memories and his events of his childhood while living in poverty (Gradesaver).
Part II: The character that I think was skewed was Perry Smith. He was painted as a war hero who received a Bronze Star for his actions in Korea which left him scarred and somewhat disabled. During the scene of the tailor fitting him in a suit, you see the scars, in which the other main character mentions the medal and the action during the Korean War. Also, the Father (Preacher while in the prison cell) asks him if he wants his medal sent to his father, while in reality his scars are from a motorcycle accident. Another line in the movie from Perry, “I despise people who can’t control themselves” was the one who was having control problems with flashbacks to his childhood of his family being perfect only later to be portrayed as a childhood of pain (In Cold Blood & Gradesaver). Speculation on my part: This movie was released in 1967 during the Vietnam conflict, Capote or even the director Richard Brooks may have wanted to dramatize the effects that war has on people and could cause them to act in ways to inflict pain on other people.
I misread the instructions for Part III and have relooked at my submission and added this first line. James Baldwin “Sonny’s Blues" writes this story from an insider point of view but uses the "narrator" of the story as an outsider to the life of his brother. This is a story of two brothers and their different views on life. The older brother, the narrator, like a Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer detective book/miniseries is an outsider from the world of his brother, “Sonny.” He is 7 years older than Sonny who was recently arrested for Heroin and he tells the story of his relationship with Sonny. To help illustrate the outsider and not from somebody that is within the society, James Baldwin describes one scene where he is staring out the window contemplating searching Sonny’s room, “It was strange, suddenly, to watch, though I had been seeing these street meetings all my life. So, of course, had everybody else down there. Yet, they paused and watched and listened and stood still at the window. ‘Tis the old ship of Zion,’ they sang, and the sisters with the tambourine kept a steady, jangling beat, ‘it has rescued many a thousand.’ …Then I saw Sony…” (173 & 174) In addition, the outsider label is more cemented when his mother asks him to look after Sonny as a parental figure would and it is reflected by the question he asks Sonny after his mother’s funeral, "What do you want to do? I asked him.” Moreover, in the ensuing argument, “Sonny,’ I said, I know how you feel. But if you don’t finish school now, you’re going to be sorry later that you didn’t. I grabbed him by the shoulder.” (168 – 170) At the end of the story, Sonny, invites him to a nightclub to hear him play. He is finally able to peer into Sonny’s world as a jazz musician although he is the outsider he is starting to become part of the Society that is his brother, “I seemed to hear with what burning he had made it his, with what burning we had yet to make it ours, how we could cease lamenting. Freedom lurked around us and I understood, at last, that he could help us to be free if we would listen, that he would never be free until we did.” (179).