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In Cold Blood
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Archived > September 2019 Book Discussion PART III: Sept 15-21

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message 1: by tabascosauce (last edited Sep 23, 2019 07:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

tabascosauce (twicebakedsmallpotatoes) | 60 comments Mod
We're on to part three! If you haven't read it, this is not the thread for you. If you have, though, please share any thoughts and observations you have down below. So excited for this one's discussion thread!

I've made a reading tracker to help group reading and discussion. To download, upload, and/or print it, click here! ...hopefully everything will work.

For those of you who don't want to bother with a tracker, just letting you know you want to shoot for around 12-13 pages a day, since we have roughly 87 pages to read until part four. Since my copy is the online one, it may be a little bit bigger/smaller than the physical copy in which case the tracker won't be much help. For those of you who have a physical copy, lmk if you have any issues. Basically, just divide part three into equal divisible-by-seven parts (it's not hard). In this section, we're discussing PART THREE: ANSWERS. Please do not post anything about part one, two, or four - especially if they contain spoilers!

Since this is part three of a four-part book and discussion, it's very important that you keep all spoilers beyond Part Three (or possible spoilers, since we don't all know beforehand) TO YOURSELF! If you happen to spill the beans and someone notices, your comment will get deleted by one of the mods. And you may get thrown out for ruining the book on the second-to-last section. Just kidding, but please do take it seriously, since this is towards the end of the book and we don't want it ruined for anyone.

That said, let's get into the nitty-gritty!


KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews (kb98) | 12 comments I love part three! I think from part two onwards (and then clearly in part three) you can see how there was some authorial bias towards Perry (as I mentioned in the part 2 thread) but also you can see that Dewey was also written under a specific light!

I like how this affects the storyline - which in regards to the investigation was apparently a little different in reality- and the relationships between the characters.

Also- what does everyone think about the tension/conflict built up in this part of the book - let me know when you have read on? :)


message 3: by JoAnn (new)

JoAnn M. | 1 comments I read In Cold Blood a while ago and have also seen the movies. It is the oldest non-fiction book I have ever read that presents a true incident in this way.

IMO it marks a turning point in the way non-fiction is currently written. However, Capote's new approach was probably influenced by his "attachment" to Perry Smith and some of the facts may not be totally accurate.

Although the outcome is already known to readers, Capote was able to create and sustain suspense throughout the entire book. Its influence can be felt in the work of writers like Erik Larson, whose history books read like best selling novels, and especially in I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara, the true story of her search for the Golden State Killer.

In Cold Blood was successfully adapted in the 1967 film of the same name and also in Capote in 2005. I recommend both.


KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews (kb98) | 12 comments JoAnn wrote: "I read In Cold Blood a while ago and have also seen the movies. It is the oldest non-fiction book I have ever read that presents a true incident in this way.

IMO it marks a turning point in the w..."


I completely agree on the bias against Perry (due to Capote's supposed infatuation with him) but also with Alvin whom he portrayed as much more favourable and key to the case (which apparently was also disputed and distorted due to Capote being friends with him).
His facts were also disputed due to his method of retaining notes- he tested his memory and believed it was around 90% (maybe more?) accurate thus he didn't take any notes during conversations and instead quoted them afterwards!

I also agree it was a turning point in non-fiction and how he cleverly maintains suspense regardless of us knowing the outcome- definitely not easy to achieve!

I also have seen Capote (the film) - a wonderful recommendation!
I will have to try to watch the 1967 film though!


Daniel | 165 comments Mod
I had to skim through these comments with squinted eyes because I am still reading part 3. However, i did want to mention how jarring the scene was when Dick and Perry picked up the hitchhiker. As I was reading it, I remember one night being home and scrowling through channels in the wee hours of the morning. This random movie was on one of the premium channels that i was getting for free that month. There was this scene where three people driving in some rural area. The one guy in the front seat was telling a joke to the driver and very casually told the third guy behind Hey, how about that match". Whatever ensued after that comment kept me up for the rest of the night. I could never remember what the name of the movie was, but i could always recall this violent and real scene. I realized that the scene i witnessed decades ago was from this very book. It was written masterfully and brought to the screen with the same finesse.


message 6: by Daniel (last edited Sep 23, 2019 05:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daniel | 165 comments Mod
The last section of Part III is a beautiful example of a plausible narrative. The stray cats will continue to do what they always did, and the people will act as they always acted. As I was reading this, I thought Capote was using the cat behavior (i.e., picking and tearing apart flesh) as a way to foreshadow the behavior of the mob awaiting Dick and Perry; However, it was simply a way to show the reader that behavior usually stays consistent, even in the most wildest circumstances.




I also love how Capote starts and finishes the section with the two gray cats.


KitKat The #BookNerd KBbookreviews (kb98) | 12 comments Daniel wrote: "The last section of Part III is a beautiful of example of a plausible narrative. The stray cats will continue to do what they always did, and the people will act as they always acted. As I was read..."

I agree it is an impressive use of narrative, and the cyclical structure is wonderful. However, I also believe the cats, though representative of general behaviour, they are also a metaphor for Dick and Perry themselves; two strays in a world were they cannot achieve the American Dream so instead pick scraps (brutally by murdering, stealing etc..) Similarly, it is imagery we have seen prior- Dick and Perry remind Dewey's wife of a 'Bobcat'. The cats themselves also appear to connote sneaky behaviour, again representative of Dick and Perry who are predators who behave in a sly manner (such as sneaking in to kill the Clutters or smooth talking their way through bouncing checks).


tabascosauce (twicebakedsmallpotatoes) | 60 comments Mod
I would have never thought of either of those connections! I love these discussions haha also I agree, I loved that he starts and ends with the cats, it makes things seem a little bit more real, to mention something so little and inconsequential.

One of the saddest parts of the book, for me, was the auction actually. It was so sad when Sue watches Babe get led off, and she remembers Nancy riding her through the field. It just made it seem so normal, the auction, and realizing this really did happen to a family and they're not here anymore. Plus, when it mentions how the house is starting to go to seed - the beginnings of cobwebs, the grass overgrown, the rake all rusty... just makes me wonder what the Clutters would have thought if they could see what was happening to their house.


Kathryn  | 15 comments Daniel wrote: "I had to skim through these comments with squinted eyes because I am still reading part 3. However, I did want to mention how jarring the scene was when Dick and Perry picked up the hitchhiker. As ..."

I forgot to mention this in our chat so I will post it here since I haven't been active in the public forum. That scene was impactful! It's the first time readers get to see this murderous and violent side of Perry's personality. I thought his reaction to hearing the man had five kids was so chilling. That blase, oh well attitude sets the reader up to see him as more of a psychopath instead of this lost soul that Capote is trying to portray.


tabascosauce (twicebakedsmallpotatoes) | 60 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "Daniel wrote: "I had to skim through these comments with squinted eyes because I am still reading part 3. However, I did want to mention how jarring the scene was when Dick and Perry picked up the ..."

I agree! It definitely gives you a sense of how a psychopath can seem very understandable and even sympathetic on the outside but is really just hiding something messed up and chilling on the inside. Gives me the creeps.


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