.. Herb Clutter was a universally respected man (Magill 2176).
Right up until the point which he was killed, Herb remained calm and thought positively. As stated by Perry Smith in a later interview, he can be quoted as saying “I thought he [Herb Clutter] was a very nice man..
I thought so right up to the moment I slit his throat” (Matuz 86). Perry and Dick had tied Herb Clutter to a duct in the furnace room .They then decided that this wouldn’t be a comfortable setting so they laid him down on a cardboard box. Afterwards they preceded to club him on the head, gag him, slit his throat, and shoot him. Every other family member was gagged and tied to something with the exception of Nancy, who was only tied to her bed. Nancy had been laying in bed with her hands and ankles tied together. Her bedcovers were drawn to he chin, and she had been shot with the barrel of the gun not 2 inches away from her head. On top of Perry and Dick shooting a completely innocent and helpless girl, Dick, having an obsession with little girls, wanted to sexually molest Nancy.
But Perry, thinking it was grotesque, stopped him from doing so. Finally, Perry and Dick were inhumane because of their lack of compassion. The whole town loved and respected the Clutter family, and on the day of their executions, neither Perry nor Dick apologized to anybody when given the chance to do so. This tragic murder was inhumane because of the actions of Perry and Dick. When Perry and Dick killed the Clutter family, they didn’t know who they were killing-for the most part.They knew of the Clutter family as being fairly wealthy.
The came to the Clutter’s farmhouse expecting to rob Mr. Clutter for a large sum of money. The 4 lives were traded for 50 some odd dollars, a clock radio, and a pair of binoculars.
It was not necessary to take the lives of: a chairman for of the Kansas Conference of Farm Organizations, a skilled craftsman, an experienced rider, and a heartwarming mother (Capote 7).Herb Clutter was possibly the model man. He didn’t tolerate alcohol or drugs, never lied, and was very strict with religion. What reason would anybody have to kill such an important and contributing family? The Clutter family was always taught to do their best, and not cheat anybody out of something that they deserved. The whole family was honest and cared about others.
We are shown in the book that Perry has feelings when talking about Nancy: “..she [Nancy] was trying to act friendly and casual.She was a very pretty girl, not spoiled or anything, I really liked her” (Capote 243).
To this day, nobody ever proved why it was necessary for the Clutter family to die, and they probably never will. This was a murder that was definitely done without motivation. Perry and Dick picked this family because they heard that they were wealthy and they had a safe. Many people are killed because of broken promises or even jealousy, but very few are killed because somebody heard they have a safe.Perry even said himself “I only knew the man [Mr. Clutter] for about an hour, and he seemed like a nice man” (Matuz 103).
Also, what would motivate a person to go through with the murders when they discovered that their was no money, and that was what they came there for? We know that this crime is definitly without motivation because we know that Floyd Wells told Perry and Dick of the Clutter’s land because he use to work there. After telling Dick of the land and wealth he believed the Clutter’s to have, Dick got obsessed with the fact that the Clutter’s had money. Floyd Wells said about the encounter that “Next thing I knew, Dick was talking about killing Mr.Clutter” (Capote 151).Floyd didn’t take him seriously because he said everybody talked about what they were going to do after they got out of jail, and nobody ever acted on what they wanted to do. But this time, Floyd couldn’t of been more wrong. This murder was without motivation because the killer’s had no concrete evidence or proof of the Clutter family’s wealth.
Truman Capote has made a significant contribution to American Literature. He has written many plays, short stories, novels and has had 2 books turned into movies.For In Cold Blood alone, he has won an Emmy award and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe award (Reed 31). George Frazier said that Capote is “One of the last of the great American Contemporary authors” (about the author 2). Out of all of the literary criticism that has been written about In Cold Blood, most of it has been positive.
But the negative criticism has all had the same undertone and is very well put as said by Mr. Matuz “Capote HAS manipulated the facts to produce a particular kind of frisson” (Matuz 103).A few examples of this ‘manipulation’ is the fact that Capote made Bobby out to be a big basketball star, when in real life he was only an aspiring player. Also Capote said before he was hung, Dick apologized, which in fact he didn’t. We know he didn’t because of a live broadcast prior to the hanging.
How ever, on the positive side, it has been said that “In Cold Blood is the best documentary account of an American crime that has ever been written” (Reed 118). His unique form of setting the book up with 86 unnumbered chapters has also been looked into: The book is by any standards a monumental job of editing and a most seductive writing: the first section cutting back and forth between the unsuspecting Clutter’s and the approaching killers is agonizingly well constructed (Matuz 100).As agreed by most, if not all critics, Capote has definitely created a masterpiece and has spared no emotion while writing the book.
In conclusion, the Clutter family murder clearly did not have to happen. This was one of the most savage murders of that time period. Perry and Dick have paid the ultimate price for the inhumane, unnessacary, and motivationless crime they committed. Dick and Perry were sick individuals to commit the crimes in the seriousness that they had been carried out. The Clutter’s were a well rounded family with love and respect from all.They did not need to have their lives taken away at such an early stage in life. We will never know if Bobby and Nancy would have married, or if one day Mr. Clutter would become a millionaire.
These lives were taken for no concrete reason, just the greed for the Clutter’s wealth. “In the book In Cold Blood, the murderers Richard Hickock and Perry Smith are prisoners of their pathological childhood.As a consequence, there crimes are rendered understandable, but not forgivable” (Reed 68). Truman Capote excelled in portraying the murder case as a downfall of society with the death of the American Dream.