How does Perry think his life should be lived? What does he value? How does this compare with his sister (Barbra)?     

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the novel "In Cold Blood" Perry Smith believes that life should be lived to it's fullest.  He is a dreamer.  He spent his life living from pillar to post and did not have a good upbringing.  He taught himself most of his talents because his father pulled him out of school and he had little formal education.  His sister's name was Beverly Johnson. She was married and had completley turned her back on Perry.  She was practical and was trying hard to work, raise a family and live the American Dream.  She was ashamed of her brother and disowned him. 

Dick Hickock is totally the opposite of Perry.  After being convinced and receiving the death penalty he began trying to use his social skills to endear himself to those around him. He begins a up hill struggle to get an appeal of the death sentence and a new trial.  Perry on the other hand begins a hunger strike to try and get what he wants.  The towns people want blood. The Cutters were a well respected family and the towns people of Garden City want the executions to take place.  Toward the end of the novel and the execution there is some awareness by the towns people that these two people are not just monsters but they are human beings and some seem shocked that these two "normal looking" men could have committed such a terrible crime.  However, following the execution the town seems satisfied and goes back to normal.