Capote was also very flamboyant in his demeanor and certain aspects of writing without being explicit in interviews and conversations; the notoriety of his book Other ooms, Other Voices and its provocative photo of the author is one oft-cited example (PBS par. 3). He also enjoyed company alone with other men but didn't really discuss sexuality (Clarke).
Writing allowed Capote an outlet for all of his personal secrets that his life insisted he keep. This was an outlet both early and late in the author's life, as he recalls beginning to write at the age of eleven as a substitute for making friends, and the author's last book (never published or even finished) was essentially full of the details of the lives of celebrities Capote knew (PBS par. 1, 6). He also liked being kept in the middle of excitement without needing to reveal himself, as can be seen in…… [Read More]
Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Truman Capote termed In Cold Blood a non-fiction novel, which he wrote to prove that a writer could bring the art of a novel to factual reporting. By adopting such a technique, Capote succeeded in blurring the lines between works of fiction and non-fiction. More important, he succeeded in "...taking the reader deeper and deeper into characters and events," (Shaw, p. 85) and thereby managed to bring to vivid life the horrific nature of the Clutter murders in Holcomb, Kansas. Indeed, perhaps Capote's non-fictional work is a disturbing one precisely because of the fact that it is an exhaustively researched, in depth report of not just the events but also the characters of the victims and their killers. In particular, Capote's portrayal of the two killers, Perry Edward Smith and Richard Eugene Hickock, as socially dysfunctional personalities capable of cold blooded killing ends up shaking…… [Read More]
I had to go into town on Saturdays to the dentist and I joined the Sunshine Club that was organized by the Mobile Press Register." He goes on to tell about entering a work of writing on the children's page publication, which he had called "Old Mr. usybody." The first installment of his writing appeared in a Sunday edition under his real name, which was Truman Streckfus Persons. The second installment never was published after the townspeople figured out he in actuality ' was serving up local scandal as fiction'. (Compote in Interview)
Capote and Writing Technique
When asked the question of "Are there devices one can use in improving one's technique? Capote answered by stating, "Work is the only device I know of. Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them.…… [Read More]
8. How does Capote develop and reveal his attitude in the description of the prison on pages 309 and 310? First, Capote sets the idea of the Leavenworth Prison as more of an economic (therefore tactical) boon to the local economy. His prose tells the reader that the Penitentiary for men is almost medieval in nature (turreted black and white palace), but built in the Civil War (therefore outdated and brutal). He uses terms like "stony village," "twelve gray acres of cement streets," and "the Hole," to paint the institution as both archaic and inhumane. Death ow, however, "is reached by climbing a circular iron staircase," almost an ascent into heaven, but the "coffin-shaped edifice" again emphasizes Capote's disdain and cruelty of the prison -- never allowing an inkling of the idea that people who are placed in institutions like this are not being rewarded -- on the contrary.
9.…… [Read More]
Michael Kronenwetter asserts that in every time and place, "all punishment is based on the same simple proposition: There must be a penalty for wrongdoing" (1). Yet, in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood as well as in the film Capote, the author/protagonist explores the concept of mercy, associated with the Christian concept of divine mercy and forgiveness, as he investigates the murder of a Midwest family and tries to get inside the minds of the accused killers. In his depiction of the unfolding of events throughout the trial, Capote interacts with several interested parties, from police to prosecutors to journalists and religious, showing how the murder and the trial is affecting everyone. However, his is one more voice in a sea of voices, and as Harper Lee points out, it was never Capote's intention to sway the courts towards mercy for the accused but rather to gather…… [Read More]
Capote was always clearly a film meant to appeal to a more educated and selective audience, and finding that audience is not as easy as for the major releases. Traditional methods of promotion and marketing are still widely used, but television has become the centerpiece of every campaign, with the advertising blitz in the week or so before a film opens being the determining factor in the success or failure of the effort. Much marketing effort today goes into developing ancillary markets and product tie-ins of various sorts, all to help recoup expenses and, if a film is very successful, to cash in to an even greater degree. Capote also advertised on television, but not with the sort of budget that would be available for a major studio release. Marketing a film like Capote on television would have been very difficult a few years ago when the primary outlet used…… [Read More]
The ultimate proof of the film's tendency to utilize hyperbole to portray the author as someone whose morality was questionable due to his own pursuit of success, wealth and fame lies in the quantity of interactions that Capote had with the two prisoners. There is certainly evidence in Clarke's biography that implies there was a fondness and physical attraction between the author and Smith. However, the sheer number of visits that the movie portrays is certainly erroneous. In actuality, the writer's "extended prison sojourns in the film are…fictionalized. In five years, Capote…visited his subjects no more than half a dozen times, though he did correspond with [them] weekly... He…was less interested in dealing with the defendants as people (Gibbons)."
As such, it becomes fairly obvious that the film Capote exaggerated a number of different facets of his personality and behavior in order to render the author as a consummate perfectionist…… [Read More]
He has to object to it to keep from confronting it in himself. The Oklahoman is not so cynical, however, for he immediately grasps hold of Parr's contradiction and cries out, "Yeah, and how about hanging the bastard? That's pretty goddam cold-blooded too" (Capote 306). The Oklahoman objects to the murder, which he views as a product of that coldness which he hears in Parr's words. The Oklahoman may represent a kind of outsider, not yet tainted by the American thirst for blood and sentimentality. To save the killer, he is willing to grant mercy, if only it will help put an end to the coldness.
At this point another man, the Reverend Post, interjects his thoughts. He seems to understand something of mercy, but at the same time he despairs of ever seeing it: "ell,' he said, passing around a snapshot reproduction of Perry Smith's portrait of Jesus, 'any…… [Read More]
There is also ample evidence in the book that Smith is indeed severely unbalanced, if not an outright paranoid schizophrenic. During the trial, he notes of Herb Clutter, the patriarch of the family that Smith slaughtered on the same night he first met them, and whom he vaguely attempted to reassure as he tried to rob the man's house, "I wasn't kidding him. I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat" (Capote 244). This kind of statement shows the general mental and psychological state that Smith maintained during the crime and the trial, yet the judge would not let such evidence be presented and effectively asks for the death penalty in his final instructions to the jury, following the close of the defense's case. This case took only a day…… [Read More]
But Perry, there was, in Dick's opinion, something wrong with little Perry (p. 108).
Clue: Dick feels Perry is mentally unbalance, but fails to see his own behavior as anything but "normal," when it is far from it
Precognition that Perry is tainted
They shared a doom against which virtual was no defense (p. 185).
Clue: Perry's sister Barbara sees Perry also as damaged goods.
Rivalry and one-upmanship going out of hand.
[Dick] was holding the knife. I asked him for it, and he gave it to me, and I said, 'All right, Dick. Here goes.' But I didn't mean it. I meant to call his bluff, make him argue me out of it, make him admit he was a phony and a coward. See, it was something between me and Dick. I knelt down beside Mr. Clutter, and the pain of kneeling -- I thought of that goddam dollar.…… [Read More]
Capital Punishment: A Capital Offense in Today's Easily Misguided orld
The debate surrounding the usage of capital punishment in the modern era has raged for generations. hile there have always been arguments for the positive aspects of capital punishment, today's world is less optimistic about the death penalty -- and with good reason. The death penalty affects more than just the convicted, it affects all of society. In order to show why capital punishment should be avoided, it is helpful to draw lessons from history, literature, and psychology.
The historical case for capital punishment has long been made. Capital punishment has existed in every major society in one form or another throughout the centuries. As Michael Kronenwetter states, in every society "all punishment is based on the same simple proposition: There must be a penalty for wrongdoing" (1). Kronenwetter is correct in asserting as much: all major societies have had…… [Read More]
Aunt Alexandra does not say "please" or "thank you," just a simple command forcing Cal into subservience. Cal has symbolized strength and authority throughout Scout's childhood, by acting as a mother figure in the Finch household. Scout has never seen Cal in such a low and submissive position
Equality is not approved, segregation is traditional, and hate is accepted. Maycomb citizens believe that Tom Robinson is not, and should not be a part of their lives or of their community Atticus, on the other hand, find faults with the towns' traditional views. Thinking logically and wisely, he knows he does not want his children to grow up with similar views. Atticus attacks old southern tradition by using the law. He lives by a traditional code in which justice is highly valued. He strongly believes that "in our courts all men are created equal"(p.205). Atticus knows that if there is one…… [Read More]
The desperation evident in the tone of the book makes it clear that this preservation is a last ditch effort, and would be unnecessary if taking a life was truly disallowed.
Towards the end of the book, when Capote is both narrating Smith's writing of his account of his own life and presenting large chunks of this narrative in what purports to be Smith's own hand, Capote comments that "Smith's pencil sped almost indecipherably as he hurried," signaling the extreme desperation on the part of this author, as well (Capote 339). The taking of a life is something that cannot be condoned, but the psychological anguish Smith goes through is worse than the deaths he inflicted in his crimes. It is certainly arguable that Smith deserves such anguish and worse, but society deserves better than to be responsible for inflicting such torture. When life is held in enough esteem to…… [Read More]
Kill a Mockingbird is one of the classical American novels that described the lynching of a black man accused of rape in Alabama during the 1930s. In this story, Tom Robinson is completely innocent, having been accused falsely by a white woman named Mayella Ewell. In reality, she was attracted to Tom and attempted to seduce him, but when her father found out he forced her to accuse him of rape. Atticus Finch knows the charges are false and defends Tom in court as best he can, knowing that the death sentence is inevitable in this case. As I reader, I can identify with the heroism of Atticus in the case, and sympathize with the injustice being done to Tom, who never has a chance of surviving once these charges have been made. Even the Ewell family, as degraded, violent and racist as they are should also be considered victims…… [Read More]
Using Bobby Rupp's testimony to interrupt the story of the killers creates an abrupt and deeply personal shift of focus. His description of Nancy, his on-again/off-again girlfriend, shows how much the Clutter's were cared for and respected in the community: "Nancy was wearing socks and soft slippers, blue jeans, I think a green sweater" -- Rupp's memory of details helps the reader to clearly picture this victim (51). The abruptness of the shift in focus also mirrors the abrupt change in circumstances -- for the community, the murderers, and most obviously the Clutters themselves -- that the murders created with shocking suddenness.
Capote creates a concrete and palpable tone in the section beginning "The cider-tart odor.." On page 206 of in Cold Blood by using words that evoke the sense of death and decay now that the murders have been committed. His language choices juxtapose images of life and…… [Read More]
The fight itself was beautifully orchestrated by Ali through the study of Foreman's technique, movement, strength, and weaknesses. hile preparing for the fight, Ali focused training on his weaknesses, and on Foreman's strengths as a fighter. Ali also took advantage of the public's support and encouragement and used it to build up his esteem, mentally and amongst the African peoples. Foreman, on the other hand, stayed out of the public eye and was reluctant to take part of the cheering for or against his opponent. Foreman was rather laconic during his stay, saying little and staying out of the spotlight. Ali took advantage of the publicity that the fight was receiving and was constantly in front of the camera, whether he was boasting his great skill, advocating his political views, or trying to psych Foreman out. Ali boasts include his great ability to be able to manipulate Foreman's actions stating,…… [Read More]
Native American Poetry Reading: Natalie Diaz and Orlando White
Native American culture has traditionally been an oral culture, and although the Native American poets Natalie Diaz and Orlando White are published authors, hearing them speak aloud provides the listener with a critical, additional appreciation of their art. The Aztec-American poet Natalie Diaz's work "I Lean Out the Window and She Nods Off in Bed, the Needle Gently Rocking on the Bedside Table" is a poem that must be heard aloud to be fully appreciated. The poem unfolds in a series of luxurious, sensuous images: "I've brushed glowing halves of avocados/lamping like bell-hipped women in ecstasy. / A wounded Saint Teresa sketched to each breast." The poem paints a picture in words of the woman who is being observed, and Diaz's emotion, the detail with which she describes the figure and the intensity of her inflection give additional weight to every…… [Read More]