Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How do the mysterious details of setting and the various eccentric characters contribute to the characterization of Joel in Other Voices, Other Rooms?

Discuss the following assertion: Truman Capote’s insistence on the originality of his “nonfiction novel,” In Cold Blood, enhanced its popular success but misdirected criticism of the work.

What did Capote ultimately learn and reveal about the motivation of the killers in In Cold Blood?

Are there important mutually exclusive values in journalism and fiction? Has Capote been a bad influence on the recent journalists who have betrayed journalistic standards by incorporating fictitious material in their reports?

Does Capote’s literary output after In Cold Blood demonstrate that celebrity—and especially his practice of cultivating his own celebrity—damaged his integrity as an artist?

What work of Capote’s do you think best illustrates his conviction that “all writing has at its center a perfectly wrought core and shape”? Describe the core of that work.