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In Cold Blood

Truman Capote

The Last to See Them Alive: 2 of 3

The Last to See Them Alive: 1 of 3

The Last to See Them Alive: 3 of 3

Summary

Driving across the state, Dick and Perry stop to buy rubber gloves and rope. Perry suggests buying stockings to wear over their heads, but Dick reminds him that no witnesses will survive.

Kenyon Clutter is in the basement recreational room, working on a hope chest for one of his older sisters. Kenyon is fifteen; he is interested in cars and tinkering with inventions, but not in girls. He and his best friend sometimes go out in his car, the Coyote Wagon, to round up coyotes. Kenyon goes outside and speaks to Mr. Helms, the husband of the housekeeper. They note that an insurance salesman is visiting Mr. Clutter.

Dick and Perry have paused once again, this time to try to get black stockings at a convent. Perry remembers the real reason he came to Kansas, which for him is a parole violation. He had hoped to meet up with Willie-Jay, who was a kind of religious mentor to him when he was in prison. Not finding Willie-Jay, he agreed to do a "score" with Dick.

Back at River Valley Farm, Mr. Clutter makes a deal for a large life insurance plan. The agent leaves with the first payment in his pocket.

Driving down the highway, Perry is playing songs on his guitar and the two are sharing a bottle of orange drink and vodka.

The next Monday, Bobby Rupp describes his last night with the Clutters to the police. He went over to the Clutters home and watched TV with the family. At eleven, he left.

Dick and Perry have a steak dinner. They move on to Garden City, where they buy a tank of gas. Perry's legs cause him great pain, and he spends a long time in the bathroom, trying to find the strength to stand up again. Dick thinks that his partner must be having second thoughts.

Nancy, in her bedroom, makes an entry in her diary.

Dick and Perry pull up to the Clutter home.

Commentary

In Cold Blood is divided into small chapters. In this part of the narrative, Capote uses the short chapter lengths to their full effect--the chapters come quicker, like brief, alternating glances as Dick and Perry near the River Valley Farm. This heightens the sense of simultaneity. It is as if the mind's eye were quickly toggling back and forth between a view of the Clutter home and one of the approaching black Cadillac, trying not to miss a thing.

Capote makes the most of the fact that he is telling a true story. To describe Billy's visit to the Clutter home, he simply uses Billy's testimony. He is calling attention to the fact that this is a true story. The factuality of his story becomes something like a gimmick.

As the killers race toward Holcomb, Capote sketches the developing working relationship between Dick and Perry. Perry wants to tell Dick about his dream that a giant parrot will come and rescue him, but Dick ignores him. Dick is practical; he does not understand the romantic side of Perry. Also, he underestimates Perry. Dick thinks that Perry may be having second thoughts when in fact he is trying to overcome excruciating pain so that he can carry on.

More Help

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the confession

by Kyliecaye17, August 16, 2013

dick blamed the killing on perry. they said it was a robbery gone totally wrong the safe isn't there and then they end up killing the clutter family. perry killed keyon and herb while dick murdered bonnie and nancey they had no motive they came in the house with items to kill the family with but they were only going to kill the family if they got in the way of the robbery and when they came to find the safe was not there they decided to murder the witnesses.

2 Comments

17 out of 53 people found this helpful

Question?

by TR1GG3R_D3M0N, August 22, 2013

How was In Cold Blood Related to the book Columbine by Dave Cullen?

Hey now

by boonabear, April 28, 2014

Well if this doesn't help much you can always go to Youtube and watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkCFb3Csg-4 she has several videos telling you a short summary plus more on the novel. Hope I helped
- queen slacker

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