Capote shows several times in his narrative how each killer may not have been sane. As a first cause of this mental instability, Capote points out and repeats how Perry and Dick were both injured in automobile wrecks , , By doing so, he elicits sympathy for the killers, as well as showing a possible excuse for their behavior. Their actions and thoughts certainly walk the line of sanity.
Hanging in Cold Blood | asraraus
Perry confesses he was in a kind of fugue state while murdering the Clutters: "But I didn't realize what I'd done till I heard the sound" Both Dick and Perry describe the act of murder with a disturbing flatness of emotion. Dick tells Perry, "Let's count on eight, or even twelve.
The only sure thing is every one of them has got to go" As if talking of having dinner guests, instead of murdering people! Perry says, "I thought [Mr. Clutter] was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat" Later, he tells a jail visitor, "It's easy to kill - a lot easier than passing a bad check" Perry also has his personal quirks, not least of which is the belief running throughout the narrative that he will be rescued by a giant yellow bird, even in jail Hampered by the M'Naughten rule, which states that criminal insanity is possible only if the accused does not know the difference between wrong and right , Perry and Dick's lawyers cannot enter into evidence the opinions of doctors with a broader range of "insane.
Jones believes that Dick's injury could have physiological implications to his psychological state, thus making his actions outside of his control Perry's mental health is even more questionable; he suffers from "'paranoid' orientation," "poorly controlled rage," and a disordered thought process Satten , a forensic psychiatrist, also felt that Perry and Dick entered a "mental eclipse" outside of their control It is important to note how Capote devotes four pages to excerpts from Satten's "Murder Without Apparent Motive" journal article, An anti-death penalty advocate would point out the problems with "killing" Perry and Dick if their mental unfitness is even possibly true; they are simply "sick" people, in need of treatment and compassion, not punishment.
Nevertheless, the Kansas Supreme Court, when given many of the above arguments, denied Perry and Dick's appeal The killers are sent to death row, and this leads to Capote's final attempt to sway the reader to an anti-death penalty bias. It is clear from the way Capote shows the death penalty being carried out which side he is on.
In Kansas , it is done by hanging the criminal, and Capote describes it graphically. Lowell Lee Andrews is the first to hang in the book. Dick is a grim witness:. They must have had a real mess to clean up.
In Cold Blood Death Penalty
Every few minutes the doctor [would check for a heartbeat, then step outside]. I wouldn't say he was enjoying the work - kept gasping, like he was gasping for breath, and he was crying, too. I guess the reason he stepped outside was so the others wouldn't see he was crying. Then he'd go back and listen to hear if Andy's heart had stopped. Seemed like it never would. The fact is , his heart kept beating for nineteen minutes.
Capote punctures two balloons of the pro-death penalty advocate in this narrative. One is the feeling of supposed satisfaction from carrying out the highest form of justice. The state doctor's weeping shows the ambiguous feelings of those very servants of justice.
The second is that criminals do not suffer while being executed. Hanging is clearly not "cruel and unusual punishment" when the criminal takes nineteen minutes to die. This leads into Dick's hanging, who "hung for all to see a full twenty minutes before the prison doctor at last said, 'I pronounce this man dead'" , my italics , and the dialogue between a guard and a reporter afterward:. Drop, snap, and that's it.
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Erin Miller is a freelance book critic with a B. Her work has appeared regularly in the Orlando Sentinel. How does Capote build suspense despite the fact that readers know the ultimate outcome from the beginning of In Cold Blood? How does Capote report the facts and allow different voices to speak without using a journalistic style? In Cold Blood starts with details about the Clutter family's last day alive.
Did any of the details particularly stick out to you? Did Capote make you feel attached to the family by sharing these details?
Capote S Stance On Death Penalty Essay
Were there any other characters you empathized with because of small details Capote wrote about them? Bobby Rupp? Alvin Dewey? Why do you think Capote split the narrative into three sections? Why do you think he did not describe how the murders happened until Dick and Perry were caught and gave their confessions? Did you feel sympathy for Dick or Perry at any point?
How did Capote humanize the killers?