What is a passage from In Cold Blood that describes Capote's attitude towards Dick and Perry's relationship? 

What is a passage from In Cold Blood that describes Capote's attitude towards Dick and Perry's relationship?

 

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meg526 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the text, Capote appears to cast Perry as the poetic, misunderstood sidekick to Dick's brutish grifter. Dick often intimidates and insults Perry, who is then convinced to go along with Dick's plans. Capote's sometimes sympathetic portrayal of Perry in particular has led some critics to suggest Capote developed feelings for the killer over the course of his research. However, the passage that best underscores Capote's perception of Perry and Dick's relationship is the passage for which the novel is named: the description of the cold-blooded murders of the Clutter family. 

In chapter three, after Perry and Dick are interrogated, Perry decides to detail the night of the murders in a backseat confession to local detectives. It is in this description of the murders that Perry expresses his disgust over Dick's inability to finish the job he started. Perry explains that he was the one who had to kill Herb Clutter, the first murder, because Dick did not have the stomach for it. Perry makes a point to mention that he prevented Dick from raping Nancy Clutter, the sixteen-year-old. This assertion stands out amid the chilling description of the four homicides, as Perry appears to want to paint himself as chivalrous.

Though Capote delves into Perry's backstoryone of abuse, sorrow, and neglectand portrays him as the brunt of Dick's insults, Perry's description of the murder scene causes the reader to wonder why he ever went along with Dick. Perry, in fact, muses that he should have killed Dick as well as the Clutters. This declaration could signal Perry's frustration over being caught but also may be meant to suggest that Perry was in control the whole time. 

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the first section, "The Last to See them Alive," there is a passage in which Perry is waiting for Dick at a Kansas cafe called the Little Jewel. Capote writes from Perry's point of view, "Still no sign of Dick. But he was sure to show up; after all, the purpose of their meeting was Dick's idea, his 'score'" (page 14). Capote presents the Clutter robbery and murders as largely Dick's idea (though in this passage, Dick is contemplating going to Mexico).

Capote sees Perry as twisted and manipulated by Dick, who is unsympathetic towards Perry's needs. For example, later in this passage, Capote writes about the two large boxes Perry carts around with books, maps, and letters: "Dick's face when he saw those boxes! 'Christ, Perry. You carry that junk everywhere?'" Capote portrays Dick as hardened and unsympathetic, while Perry, whose history of abuse at the hands of his parents and foster caregivers Capote relates in harrowing detail, is presented as more sympathetic and as Dick's pawn. Later in this same passage, Perry romantically suggests prospecting for gold, and Dick dismisses the idea by referring to the movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre and saying, "Whoa, honey, whoa. I seen that show. Ends up everybody nuts" (page 15). Dick is clearly in control of their relationship, and he discounts Perry's ideas, dreams, and emotions. 

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In Cold Blood

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