Much is learned about the characters of In Cold Blood from the setting of the non-fiction novel. What is learned?
The opening of this novel sets the scene by giving a thorough introduction to Holcomb and the attitudes of the people who live there. Capote explores how this village is isolated and set apart, being on the high wheat plains in Kansas, that even other people in the state of Kansas regard as the back of beyond. There is, however, a curious dignity to life here, conveyed in the simile of the cluster of grain elevators "rising as gracefully as Greek temples" that can be seen from afar. Note what Capote says about the people and their attitude to life, especially the way that nothing ever happens in Holcomb:
The inhabitants of the village, numbering two hundred and seventy, were satisfied that this should be so, quite content to exist inside ordinary life--to work, to hunt, to watch television, to attend school socials, choir practice, meetings of the 4H Club.
The setting of Holcomb is therefore key to help the reader understand the character of the Clutter family and the residents of Holcomb, and the quiet, isolated lives they willingly chose to lead and clearly craved. The sudden eruption of such a tragic and horrific murder in their midst is clearly something that would give Holcomb a notoriety that it never knew before and certainly never wanted.