In In Cold Blood, what does Dick question about Perry, and why?

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Dick questions whether there isn’t something actually wrong with Perry. He bases this on his observation of Perry’s strange ways from the days when they were prison cellmates, when Perry would suck his thumb and wet the bed and cry out for his dad in his sleep, just like a child. Dick also wonders at his obsession with finding buried treasure and such-like adventures – again, which appears quite childlike.

 Dick doesn’t understand what a detrimental effect Perry’s rough life of neglect and deprivation, dating back to his early childhood, has had. In many ways Perry is still a child, emotionally immature, seeking comfort and protection, and dreaming unrealistic dreams. However, there is also the whole other side of him which hints at his potential for violence and which is borne out on that fateful night in the Clutter home.

It is ironic that Dick considers Perry to be peculiar while remaining seemingly unaware about his own aberrations. He is a habitual liar, thief, and braggard, and has a taste for sex with underage girls. Yet he considers himself wholly ‘normal’.

He thought himself as balanced, as sane as anyone – maybe a bit smarter than the average fellow, that’s all.

Unlike the introspective Perry, Dick shies away from self-examination, and just goes on doing what he pleases, with hardly a thought for consequences.

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