In Cold Blood Questions and Answers
by Truman Capote

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What role do dreams play in In Cold Blood?

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In the first chapter of In Cold Blood, Capote discusses the dreams of Herb Clutter in close proximity to Perry's dreams, setting the tone for the rest of the book and establishing the thematic role of dreams. The dreams of these two men, and the steps they take to achieve them, give the reader a sense of who they are: Herb Clutter is characterized as a practical and hardworking man with conventional dreams of security, while Perry is characterized as a childlike man in pursuit of fantasies that are out of reach despite his imagination's ability to conjure them.

Since his childhood days growing up on a farm, Herb Clutter dreamed of owning his own land as an adult. This dream was so much a part of Herb that he gave up a secure job in order to pursue the dream. Additionally, Herb dreamed of having a family, which he also accomplished. Both of these dreams are wholesome and within reach for many people, and Herb Clutter manages to have both by the time of his death. Meanwhile, Perry's dreams...

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