Character Development: Techniques Truman Capote used several techniques to develop the characterization of the killers in his book, In Cold Blood. But primarily, Truman Capote uses anecdotes to describe the characters of Dick and Perry. An anecdote being, “a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. ” He does this by describing their child lives, and how they became who they are in the present.
An example of how Capote described the character of Perry is: “ He was seven years old, a hated, hating half-breed child living in a California orphanage run by nuns- shrouded disciplinarians who whipped him for wetting his bed. ” Not only does he use anecdotes for describing Dick and Perry’s childhood but also their problems they face in their present lives at the time. Such as Dick’s sexual interests in younger girls, “ He was sorry he felt as he did about her, for his sexual interest in female children was a failing of which he was ‘sincerely ashamed. ’” Or when Capote quotes Perry about the murder of Mr.
Clutter, saying; “ I didn’t want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken right up to the moment I cut his throat. ” This quote describes and confirms how Perry was insane during the murders that he committed. Capote uses this quote on purpose, because it describes how Perry’s intention was not to hurt anyone but it was a simple act of taking his frustration upon the Clutter family. Meaning that his anger was not because of the Clutter family, they just ended up receiving the end of Perry’s anger. In the story it seems as though the reader feels sympathetic towards the killers; Dick and Perry.
Truman Capote does this mostly by describing the childhood of the killers, and what they went through as children that made a major impact on them now. Perry however, is more sympathized than Dick. It seems as though Perry had a ‘rougher upbringing’ than Dick did. For an example, when his sister sends him a letter of how disappointed she and her father are in his decisions. “ Your present confinement is embarrassing to me as well as Dad – not because of what you did but the fact that you don’t show me any signs of sincere regret and seem to show no respect for any laws, people or anything. Even though Perry made horrible decisions in his life, reading parts of this letter, sympathy can be a common emotion that the reader feels to see how much Perry was a disappointment to his family. Of course another key factor Capote used to gain sympathy from the readers was by writing them in the killers’ point of view. This way, you know more about the killers and their upbringing, and it makes you wonder if they really knew what they were doing.