In Cold Blood Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, describes the events preceding and following the murder of the Clutter family in their small town Kansas home. This "nonfiction novel" is based on events that truly happened but are portrayed novelistically.
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Capote depicts the thoughts, actions, and conversation of the killers in the weeks and hours before the murders. Also depicted is the homey domestic life of the doomed Clutter family, denizens of the good and virtuous life in small town Kansas.

Dick Hickock, the dominant of the two killers is a psychopath--charming, pleasant, fearless, but with deficient conscience and little understanding of the pain he causes others. Perry, an American Indian who grew up without means, is stunted in appearance, deluded about the riches that await him, constantly nibbling on aspirin to thwart pain from injured joints, and tormented by memories of a sad and deprived youth. Meanwhile, Herb Clutter, the father of the doomed family, is a pillar of the town, honest and good, caring for a disabled with, with children as promising, sweet and hopeful as any parent could wish for.

The family is murdered one by one in blazing shotgun blasts. Perry, ironically, shows some humanity by positioning a cushion under one victim's head. But not a cent is found in the safe the killers had heard, from a jailbird, held millions. Perry finds himself chasing a rolling silver dollar on the floor, a souvenir of Clutter's just killed daughter.

The efforts, eventually successful, of law enforcement and justice to identify, track down, arrest, interrogate, convict, and finally execute the killers is detailed, and the story ends with the visit of a family friend to the small country graveyard where the family was laid to rest.
The review of this Book prepared by a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of In Cold Blood

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Life of a profession:    -   criminal Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   killer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   American Indian Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Truman Capote Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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