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Truman Capote - In Cold Blood

            In Truman Capote's nonfiction novel, In Cold Blood, Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock were convicted of murdering the entire Clutter Family. When proven guilty, both Perry and Dick were sentenced to death. Though Perry had been the one to murder the members of the family, Dick had planned the whole thing. Without Dick's planning, Perry would have never thought to kill that innocent family. Throughout the novel, the audience is given a look at the backgrounds and inner thoughts of the criminals. Dick was perfectly capable of determining right from wrong, yet he proceeded with the murders, keeping complete control of the situation. On the other hand, Perry (whom we learned later in the novel could have been a paranoid schizophrenic all along) had lost all control in the situation. Perry's childhood and mental health leads to the conclusion that he should be spared, and treated for his mental instability. .
             Authors often lead readers to feel compassion for the criminal- maybe regarding a mistreated, abusive childhood, or challenges and struggles they've had to face. Even though people understand the consequences of the crime, they feel sympathy for someone who's had so much pain in their life. They assume that the "evil" was rooted in something that truly affected the criminal. Perry Smith is no exception. Capote not only included Perry's thoughts, but his father's as well. Perry's father wrote a manuscript called "A History of My Boy's Life", trying to mollify the Kansas State Parole Board so that they could allow his son, Perry, to be obtain parole. Mr.Smith writes about his drunkard wife (Perry's mother), who had taken Perry and his siblings from their father at a very young age. "My children all cried at the top of their voices" wrote Perry's father, "and she only cursed them saying they would run away to come to me later."(Pg.126). Just as his mother had then said, Perry tried to run away from his mother.

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