What is the central argument in chapter 2 of In Cold Blood?  

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of he central arguments in this second chapter is the way that Smith is presented in his full psychological complexity, and how Capote explores his background and the various forces that turned him into the adult character that is presented in this text. What is important about this is the way that Capote seeks to present all of the forces and influences that have gone in to creating Smith and are responsible for the disturbed adult who is capable of perpetrating such a terrible crime.

We are told that Smith's childhood was disrupted thanks to the separation of his parents and his siblings who killed themselves and his father who dragged Smith around America. When he was placed in orphanages, he was abused at the hands of those who should have cared for him. The impact of this disturbing childhood reaches into Smith's adult years, as we are told of how Smith dreams of a giant, yellow bird that attacks those who are persecuting him and takes him to paradise. Smith is a character who Capote therefore tries to fully develop, presenting him in his full psychological complexity.

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