Essay on Perry Smith and Dick Hickock in In Cold Blood Part One

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560 words
Middlebury College
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In Cold Blood is a non-fiction book by Truman Capote that was initially published in 1966. It narrates the murders of four Herbert Clutter family members in Holcomb, Kansas in 1954. The people responsible for the killings were two young men called Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. This essay compares and contrasts between Smith and Hickock. It will look at their physical characteristics, personalities, lives, and demeanor as well as how they are the same but yet different.

Part one of In Cold Blood introduces the storys main characters. Herbert Clutter is a wealthy and well-known member of the Holcomb community. He lives a lavish lifestyle as the owner of a ranch called the River Valley Farm. He resides there with his wife and two teenage children. Hundreds of miles away, at a place somewhere in the state of Kansas called Olathe, a man known as Perry Smith meets with a friend called Richard Dick Hickock. Dick is planning to settle a certain score and he needs Perry help to carry it out. It is revealed that the two men have just been released from the Kansas State Penitentiary. While the nature of this score is yet to be revealed, their actions suggest that they are up to no good. For instance, Dick has stolen a shotgun belonging to his father, and then fabricated a story that the two are planning to go to Fort Scott to visit Perrys sister. They commence the journey and along the way make several stops to buy a rope, a pair of rubber gloves, and black stockings.

Dick and Perry make a stop at Garden City at about midnight refill gas. They then head to Holcomb, and finally to Clutters farm. Unbeknownst to the Clutters, the score that the two are planning is to murder Herb and his family. Dick is depicted as being bloodthirsty because, despite no apparent motive for the killings, he is planning to blast hair all over walls (Capote, 6) and then leave no witnesses. In contrast, Perry does not eager to take part in violence. For instance, he pleads with his partner to purchase some stockings to cover their faces while committing the murders. Although Dick initially refuses, Perry finally manages to convince him to agree.

Perry is portrayed as being reserved and thoughtful. He has a brilliant and almost obsessive interest in the English language and its words. He is seen thinking about his first ever encounters with Dick and other fellow prisoners at the Kansas State prison. He is particularly melancholic about a devout and philosophical prisoner called Willie-Jay, whom Perry thinks of as his only true friend. Willie-Jays genuine opinion of Perry as being an artistic and exceptional person is a sharp contrast to the way Dick is impatient with his cautious and sensitive attitude. Perrys only motive for taking part in the murders has nothing to do with revenge, thirst for blood, or greed. All he wants is to stick to Dick just for long enough to be reunited with Willie-Jay. One the other hand, Dick remembers a story that he once heard, in which Perry assaulted someone to death using a bicycle chain. Hence, one of his motives for taking part in the crime is to find out if Perry is truly a killer.

Works Cited

Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. Random House Digital, Inc., 2013. Print.


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