At What Cost? “No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me,” Capote once said. “It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me. ” Truman Capote learned his own hard lesson that “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones” in writing In Cold Blood. Capote’s interest in writing an article on his fascination over the impact of brutal, senseless murders in a rural community rapidly transforms into pure obsession to write a novel that would revolutionize the literary world.
This leads him to significantly change his behavior in a destructive manner and ultimately this negatively impacts his life. In the movie Capote, Truman blithely told Alvin Dewey, the lead investigator, “It really doesn’t make any difference to me if the case is ever solved or not. ” His intentions going to Holcomb, Kansas were to produce an article that examined the effects of a brutal, senseless killing of the Clutter family on an unknown rural community.
The community was inflicted with insomnia, loss of faith and trust, and suspicion which first attracted Truman to Holcomb, Kansas to write an article. Capote states “they believed that the murdered was among themselves” (Capote 88). Capote and his close novelist friend, Harper Lee, quickly forge relationships with the community to obtain stories from them. However one sees, as both the story and movie progress, Capote becomes more intrigued by the actual case, especially after meeting the murderers, developing an emotional connection with them.
Capote’s literary aspirations to write an article on the impact of these murders to this community change after he meets with the detained killers, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Capote fosters a close, warped friendship with Smith. Capote is now entrenched into the bowels of the details of the murders and in the mind of Smith so he decides that he must write a novel. His goal is to now publish an award winning non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. Capote’s motives are now altered and he will do whatever it takes to write a critically acclaimed novel.
After Smith and Hickock are sentenced to death, Capote realizes for his novel to be a success that he needs to keep them off of death row as long as possible so that he can obtain all possible gruesome details and their inner thoughts. To do this, Capote decides to hire them high- powered lawyers. He begins to relate with Smith on a personal level to get all important details for his novel and he actually allows himself to become psychologically attached. Capote and Smith shared similar troubled childhoods as they both were neglected by reckless mothers.
He realizes that he could have become like Smith and no longer sees Smith as a monster. By personally connecting with Smith is a twisted way, Capote becomes obsessed with the whole case and it changes his behavior and his life. Capote reveals several character flaws in his pursuit of writing an award winning novel. He quickly learns to lie to obtain information and does not seem to have any issue in exaggerating facts or even manipulating those that he is interviewing. An example of this behavior is when Smith confronts Capote about the title of his book and Capote lies stating that his editor named the book.
He even stoops to unethical behavior when he bribes a prison warden at Leavenworth with money so that he has unlimited access to meet with Smith. It was callous knowing that Capote was on precipice of his utmost success in his career as Smith says goodbye to Capote as he heads to his hanging death. In the movie, Capote begins to neglect the people he cares about to do whatever it takes to get the details for his novel. He convinces himself that he is just being a good friend to Smith who is in need.
It portrays his true selfishness and his destructive motivations that lead him to no longer listen to those he loves and trusts. Capote rejects the wisdom of his long-term friend, Harper Lee and even of his male companion back in New York City. His male lover warns him to be careful what he does and what he does to get it. Harper Lee, his friend and associate is disgusted at Capote when he states that there was not anything that he could do to save Smith and Hickock. She replied that that fact is that he really did not want to.
He unfortunately is blinded by his own ambitions and does not want to admit that he is using others around him to reach his goal. His self-centered choices negatively impact his inner-soul. The writing of this novel, In Cold Blood, changes Capote forever; it was the peak of his career that over time turns on him and escalates out of control. The movie concludes with a quote from an unfinished book “More tears are shed over answered prayers that unanswered ones. ” Capote should have heeded the advice of his closest friend and lover.
He did whatever he had to do to get what he wanted: a story that would revolutionize the literary world. At first, he befriends Smith to use him to get his story, however he later becomes emotionally attached and actually finds a friend. Capote got his story from Smith but at what cost? His novel changed the literary world but after all, he loses a friend and even himself. “No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me,” Capote once said. “It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me. ”
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