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HE2 In Cold Blood Final Assessment Perry is not an anti-hero. Perry Smith is not an anti-hero, because he does not have any heroic qualities. Perry may gain the sympathy of the audience, but the audience does not root for him to succeed. Perry is a mentally ill killer, who killed the Clutter family in cold blood. Perry said the moment before he slit Mr. Clutter’s throat he “Thought of that goddam dollar. Silver dollar. The shame. Disgust,” (224). Smith is thinking about the silver dollar he got down on his knees and reached for in Nancy Clutter’s room, because it was one of the only things of value Dick and Perry ended up finding in the Clutter house. In this moment, Perry was overwhelmed by feelings of shame, disgust, and failure, due to the pair’s failed attempt at robbing the Clutter’s of the 10,000 dollars they expected to find. Perry was also overwhelmed by the power dynamic between him and Dick that had been unsteady since they had entered the Clutter house. Perry prevents Dick from raping Nancy Clutter, Dick is losing his temper because there seems to be no hidden safe, and Perry is tempted to leave multiple times. The pair ends up in front of the tied-up Mr. Clutter. In his testimony Perrys claims he meant to call Dick’s bluff, hoping Dick would admit to himself being a “phony and a coward,” (224). From this intimate part of Perry’s testimony it can be inferred that Perry was subconsciously aiming to prove his masculinity to Dick. With Perry’s turmoil of emotion, evidence of mental illness, and desire to prove his masculinity to Dick clouding his mind, Perry slit Mr. Clutter’s throat. He eventually reveals in a later testimony that he went on to murder the rest of the Clutter family. There is nothing heroic about the actions and intentions of Perry Smith in this murder. After hearing Perry’s testimony in the car on the way to Garden City, Sheriff Al Dewey has many emotions. One of those emotions in sympathy. Capote describes that Dewey, “Found it possible to look at the man beside him without anger—with, rather, a measure of sympathy—for Perry Smith’s life had been no bed of roses but pitiful, an ugly and lonely progress toward one mirage or another,” (245-246). Dewey and the audience both feel sympathy for Perry. After the audience learns about Perry’s tragic childhood, the audience can’t help but pity him. But neither the audience nor Dewey roots for Perry to succeed. To root for Perry to succeed would be to root for Perry to continue with his actions, such as murdering a family or just writing hot checks. In order for a character to be considered an anti-hero they must not only gain the sympathy of the audience, but also make the audience root for them. The audience feels sympathy for Perry, but does not root for him, therefore he is not an anti-hero When Dr. Jones is giving a verdict on the mental health and personality of Perry, he has strong evidence to support Perry being schizophrenic. But Dr. Jones does not get a chance to share this information. He later tells Capote “Perry Smith shows definite signs of severe mental illness,” (296). Many of Perry’s actions were the result of his mental illness. Dr. Jones also assesses that a strong trait in Perry is his rage, which has presented itself in a few incidents. Jones tells Capote that Perry’s “Rages in the past have been directed at authority figures… and have led to violent assaultive behavior on several occasions,” (297). Dr. Jones also mentions that Perry attaches very little real value to human life. None of the qualities that Dr. Jones assessed in Perry are heroic, and they reflect a mental illness. After this mental assessment done by a doctor, the reader can see Perry Smith does not possess enough heroic qualities or intentions to be an anti-hero. In order to be an anti-hero, Perry must have enough heroic qualities. Perry Smith has no heroic qualities. Perry gains the audience’s sympathy, but the audience does not root for him. Perry is not an anti-hero. Author’s Craft Section Four Truman Capote wrote his nonfiction novel on the murder that took place in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. Capote was searching for a topic, and he found it in the cold blooded murder that shook the small town of Holcomb. Capote is reaching out to his audience to give them an intimate account of a murder where the murderer was mentally unstable, using figurative language and diction. While on Death Row, Perry and Dick were held in the Kansas State Penitentiary. Capote describes, “In a south section of the prison compound there stands a curious little building: a dark two-storied building shaped like a coffin,” (309). He uses this figurative language to try and make the audience sympathize for Dick and Perry. He wants the audience to realize what a bad place this prison is. He also foreshadows at the fact that Dick and Perry are both going to die soon because he used the word “coffin”, which is where people are put when they die. Capote purposely used this simile with a negatively connotated word to subtly express his distaste for the criminal justice system. Capote purposely utilizes the word “coffin” in a simile to provoke a dark and hopeless feeling in the reader. After reading this, the audience can assume that Dick and Perry are going to die soon, leaving them with mixed emotions depending on the level of sympathy the feel for the two murderers. While Perry was staying in the hospital because he was starving himself, he received a letter from his father that was written to the warden. The letter was his father asking what Perry did, and if he could come visit Perry. Capote then chooses to include a sentence that includes strong emotional diction about Perry’s thoughts on the letter. Capote writes, “Perry destroyed the card, but his mind preserved it, for the few crude words had resurrected in him emotionally, love and hate, and reminded him that he was still what he had tried not to be–alive,” (320). The words “resurrected”, “love”, and “hate” all have strong emotional connotation. Capote chooses the include these words because he wants the audience to have sympathy for Perry because he is depressed and doesn’t want to be alive anymore. He also wanted the reader to see that Perry felt raw emotions. Capote was said to be close with Perry, possibly even in a romantic relationship, so it makes sense to conclude Capote used these emotional words on purpose in order to try and make his readers see Perry as more than a murderer. When reading that sentence Capote crafted with such strong language, the reader feels overwhelmed by all the heavy emotions Perry is feeling. Capote succeeds in making the audience have some sympathy for Perry in this scene.

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