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In Cold Blood

Truman Capote

The Last to See Them Alive: 3 of 3

The Last to See Them Alive: 2 of 3

Persons Unknown: 1 of 2

Summary

Nancy Ewalt, a schoolmate of Nancy Clutter, comes to the house the next morning. No one answers, so she and her father go to ask Susan Kidwell if she knows anything. Together, they return to the house and find the bodies.

The local mail messenger, Sadie Truitt, sees ambulances approaching the Clutter farm. Soon, she and her daughter (who is also the postmistress) Myrtle Clare hear news of the murders over the radio. Myrt is cynical about the news, but they are both shocked.

That morning the news was announced from Sunday morning church pulpits and over the radio. Many men converged on Hartman's Cafe, where Bess Hartman realizes that the killer was probably someone she knows, someone from the town. Susan and Bobby Rupp are hysterical.

Meanwhile, Perry is sleeping in a hotel, while Dick has sat down to dinner with his family. He told them that he and Perry were going to visit Perry's sister in Fort Scott. After dinner, Dick falls asleep, exhausted.

Commentary

Capote wisely leaves out the murder scene. Later, when the killers finally confess, Capote simply includes their description of what happened. Of course, he could have included those descriptions here, but that would detract from the novel. One of the most important plot elements of the novel is the race to discover who the killers are. And for the reader there is the mystery of exactly how the murders took place. Capote leaves the details of the murder out of the book, encouraging the reader to guess exactly what happened, as in a detective novel. He also chooses not to reveal the motive for the crime until the killers confess.

The final chapters of "The Last to See Them Alive" describe Holcomb's reaction to the murders. The main characters of the first chapters of the novel, Dick and Perry and the Clutters, recede, and various citizens of Holcomb come to the fore. Although Dick and Perry will remain important throughout the novel, they are not the heroes or even the anti-heroes of the novel, in the traditional sense of the word. Instead of having heroes, this "nonfiction novel" focuses on whatever figures are relevant to the murder case at any given time. For now, the public's reaction is important. Later, the focus will shift to the police.

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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

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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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