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Practice Paper In Cold Blood

1259 words - 6 pages

Capote uses his nonfiction novel to criticise a justice system that punishes those who never had a real chance in life.
Truman Capote, author of the non-fiction novel ‘In Cold Blood’, published in 1965 tells the story of the Clutter family murders. Capote uses the facts that he collected from the immediate people surrounding the case to establish his story. Capote uses these facts to establish scenes for the reader and allows them to see the Clutter family on their last day and the story of Perry and Dick. Capote also uses his novel to criticise the justice system of Kansas who punishes those who never had a real chance at life. ‘In Cold Blood’ contains details of the bias atmosphere that ...view middle of the document...

Perry and Dick were both suspected to have mental illnesses but this gave them no exception to the Kansas justice system’s decisions. An aspect of the M’Naghten rule states that if the accused was labouring under such a defeat of reasoning, that they did not know that what they were doing was wrong, then the jurors can take into account that some mental instability was present whilst coming to their conclusion for the case. Capote inserts part of Perry’s confession into his nonfiction novel saying “But I didn’t realise what I’d done till I heard the sound”. Capote wants the readers to acknowledge that Perry was not in a right frame of mind when committing the crime. Capote gives Dr Jones and Dr Satten ample room in his novel to express their opinions of Perry’s and Dick’s mental states. Dr Jones believed that Dick’s injury could have physiological repercussions that could alter his state of mind and thus make his actions outside of his control. Perry’s mental health was even more questionable with “paranoid orientation”, “poorly controlled rage”, and a disordered thought process. It is important to note that Capote dedicates four pages in his novel ‘In Cold Blood’ to the words of Dr Satten from his article “Murder Without Apparent Motive”. Hence, Capote’s clear distaste to the Kansas states neglectful stance on the M’Naghten rule is obvious within the pages of his nonfiction work.
Within the novel ‘In Cold Blood’, Truman Capote went out of his way to include the evidence to assist the readers in realising the unjust ways of the trial of Perry and Dick. Capote persists in pointing out questionable decisions that the judge made. The judge does not allow Perry and Dick to be assessed by a psychiatrist, siding with the prosecution that “medical doctors in general practice” were just as good. The judge also goes ahead with the trial the day after the Clutter estate was sold which would have undoubtedly have embedded biased thoughts to those involved in the case. However it was not just the judge that made mistakes. It is a known fact that those accused have the right to an unbiased jury. However, Perry and Dick were not given this chance as many of the Jury knew the Clutter family even if it was only as acquaintances. One such juror said, when asked his opinion of capital punishment, “Ordinarily I’m against it. But in this case, no”. The jury were biased and showed an obvious prejudice against Perry and Dick. Lastly, the jury were shown photos of the dead Clutter family, against the wishes of Dick’s lawyer who...

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