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In Cold Blood - Book Report/Review Example

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The concept of journalism is as old as the human desire to discover the truth. Gathering, writing and reporting news and events as truthfully as possible represents the founding principles of the disciple of journalism. Any discipline, even as one as old as journalism, is susceptible to change and modification based upon the structure of society, as well as on the concepts of people that consist that society…
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In Cold Blood

Filled with scenes, rather with historical narratives of the events, as well as conversational speech and first person point of view, new journalism has distinct elements that separate it from standard retrospective journalism and from the usual literal non-fiction. It is this new way of presenting events that Truman Capote pioneered with his book "In Cold Blood".
The book "In Cold Blood" describes the murder of Herbert Clutter, a wealthy rancher and prominent citizen of Holcomb, Kansas his wife, and his two teenaged children in November of 1959. They were brutally murdered in their home by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, two paroled criminals. Truman Capote, in the unique style that is to become the foundation of new journalism, chronicles the search for the killers by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. In the book, he successfully describes the mindset of the killers, as well as the other real characters in the book, after an extensive research and interviews with the persons involved. He sucssesfully captures not only the spirit and mind of the characters, but also the synergistic effect of the entire intricate net of people and events that set the backdrop of the book. A fine example of it is his description of the jury: "Not everyone was attentive; one juror, as though poisoned by the numerous spring-fever yawns weighing in the air, sat with drugged eyes and jaws so utterly ajar bees could have buzzed in and out." In his book, Capote also shows surprising empathy for the murderers, and Hickock and Smith accumulate a few fans. Many critics believe that the prologue of the book is essentially devoted to the killers. As any prologue, it explains the basics and foundations on which the book starts, without the necessary and sometimes tiresome explanations that come with it. The prologue of this book is rather simple, but is meaning is no less significant. It represents the first four lines of a poem by Francois Villon called "Ballade des Pendus" or the Ballad for the hanged:

Original French:
Frres humains qui aprs nous vivez,
N'ayez les cuers contre nous endurcis,
Car, se piti de nous povres avez,
Dieu en aura plus tost de vous mercis.
English translation:
My brothers who live after us,
Don't harden you hearts against us too,
If you have mercy now on us,
God may have mercy upon you.

Although simple, it explains the human side of the criminals. Not evident, but existent, the author tried to convey the message, that although to the objective eye this crime can only be done by a monster without scruples, the human element in each of us is always existent. In essence, it embodies the beginning of the new journalism- where objective facts are not the only things that create the news, but also the points of view of each and every one that is involved.
As it can already be deduced, the works that have been created in the style of new journalism have both journalistic and literal elements. In the third paragraph we can clearly see the journalistic as well as the literal elements. For example the description of the postmistress "a gaunt woman who wears a rawhide jacket and denims and cowboy boots, presides over a falling-apart post office." clearly represents a literal element, as it describes a ... Read More
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