In Cold Blood – the court case
Defendant of clutters: In today’s case a young girl, named Susan, tells a story of how an innocent, well known family get murdered.In this plea for justice she describes the Clutter family as respectful, social and family oriented.The individual characters are described in a way that makes the jury feel the connection between them as a family , however the case also involves two individuals without whom we would not be here today- the murderers, Perry and Dick.
If we compare the mannerisms in which the inspector (who examined the case) talks about the family and these two we acknowledge that Perry and dick are seen very negatively and given the label, killers! Whereas he talks about the clutters as though they were his family which then forces the jury to feel a connection to them and thus distance from the offenders; Perry and Dick.
Firstly let’s talk about the man of the family, Herb Clutter; a respected man among his society. Herb is recognised as a wealthy and successful man who earned his wealth and status rather than being given it.
Being a family man meant that his family also respected him a lot, they would never dare to talk back to him. Mr Clutter was a perfectionist; he was brilliant at every task he dealt with making sure he worked to his full potential. In addition to his hard working attitude he was also a very social man; ‘his name was everywhere’ suggesting he was widely known in his society. Moreover he was a good employer who never exploited his employees. Herb Clutter was a man of dignity and truth he never lied and he always stuck to the rules; ‘laws were laws’.
Additionally he was an intellectual man who ‘majored in agriculture’. Knowing all this just makes the act of murdering him all the more sinister, suggesting that he was shown injustice and that the two responsible for the crime should pay the consequences. Later on the barrister mentions Herb’s wife, Bonnie Clutter. He uses this member as a minor detail in the case; bonnie is not seen or thought of as very important in the story thus not mentioned as much. However when she is mentioned, she is described as a weak and unhealthy person -completely opposite to her husband.
Your honour if we now take a look at herb clutter’s wife’s medical report we find that Bonnie Clutter suffers from depression which affects her health in many ways. She is also very timid and reclusive. Bonnie is a very different character to Herb as she is very unhealthy, both mentally and physically; ‘on and off psychiatric patient’ as quoted by a valid source suggesting her constant illness. Being ill majority of the time does not help the fact that she may not be totally sane; ‘Do you like tiny things? , this question is not something that a mentally stable person would ask, also her tone of saying it would make her sound mentally unstable.
Now what I would like to ask off mr. hickock and his ally is what pleasure did they gain room killing such a fragile thing? What enjoyment could they possibly have felt in committing the sin? Now your honour I would like to introduce you to a very special young lady, someone who wanted happiness, someone who helped everyone, someone who was inspiration to the town of Holcombe, someone who died a horrible death and that someone who is vital to this case….
Nancy Clutter, the daughter of Herb and Bonnie Clutter. We are told that Nancy is a 16yearold teenager who undergoes more responsibilities than an average teenage girl. She was pretty and likeable shown by the views of the citizens of Holcombe; ‘town darling’ and ‘pretty girl’. Nancy made it her responsibility to cook for the family and too help the society as much as she could. Also she did all this willingly, ‘would have willingly’. As mature as Nancy was she was very respectful of her father, she would obey his every command and never talk back to him.
Overall Nancy is seen as a very efficient and accomplished young lady who was never vain and hence i asked the question what did she do to deserve such torture? Let’s not forget just before killing the innocent teenage girl the offender Mr. hickock had wanted to rape her. Luckily he was stopped but imagine the pain this girl must have endure having two strangers in her home causing harm to all the people she loved the most. This girl was only in her teens and her life ended their for her.
Nancy clutter had so much potential and so much to give to the world, yet she wasn’t even given the chance. This was all down to two killers with a greed for money and wealth and they are among us today… Perry and Dick! Perry smith is proved to have a mind of a criminal; his desire for money suggests a certain criminal quality and his skill to be continually self aware allows him to be very manipulative. Consequently increasing the similarities between him and a criminal. There is no doubt that Perry committed this crime. Many have described him as a natural killer- without conscience.
Perry is a short man- under the average height of a man of his age. Thus may feel the need to try harder to feel the characteristics of a man. Also Perry is an achoholic which totally goes against the one thing that Herb clutter would not endure. In addition Perry is a dreamer and has also been involved with the police in the past which suggests a huge contrast to herb as he would never go against the law. perry was seen to have said ‘ Cost me 30 bucks’ which is clear evidence of his materialistic view and his love /desire for money.
Nevertheless if we look closely at something that has been said regarding Perry,’ a dictionary buff’ we recognise that wishes to be intelligent and so he reads the dictionary in order for him to seem smart using complex vocabulary. However he does not show this through his actions. At a young age Perry also could not, for whatever reason, educate and this left him feeling neglected and unworthy, this maybe the reason for his life of crime but it does not excuse what he has done. If he wished to educate then he could have done other things to accomplish something with life, he had no excuse to lead the life he has.
The last character Truman introduces is Perry’s partner in the murder of the Clutters, Perry Hickock. Although this character may not be as successful as Herb Clutter, he was more accomplished than Perry. Dick was a 28 year old mechanic, who came from a descent background; he had been married and divorced twice and had three sons. Dick is created as more humorous and quick-witted than Perry- with more life in him. Truman Capote introduced this character to seem less devious than Perry; he did not seem like a criminal from his introduction.
Although he was still distanced from the reader as the reader wanted to emphasise the death of the Clutters later in the book. He wanted the readers to form a pleasant view of the Clutter family before they died for the scene to seem more dramatic and to get the readers to sympathise more for the victims. The author of this book, Truman Capote, introduced the scenes , the characters and a little bit of the story in a way that allowed the reader to form a link ,whether it be negative of positive, between them and that of the characters.