Overview: A well-known family, the Clutter’s, lived in a small town known as Holcomb, located in Kansas. They were headed by Mr. Herbert Clutter, who was respected and renowned in the community. He had a wife and two children. Unknown to him and virtually everyone else, two inmates in the Kansas penitentiary once spoke about how Mr. Clutter kept a safe that always contained $10,000. The inmate, Richard Hickock who was receiving the information, decided to take the information and do the worst with it. This story is about what Richard and a troubled former fellow inmate did to the Clutter family, and how they were caught for their crime afterwards. This is a compelling book into the sick actions of troubled human beings, and sadly, these unnecessary troubling events happen far too often. It is a true story that took place in 1959. Capote gives the reader a look into both sides of the coin. Both the crime and the justice.
Lesson: A complete stranger is capable of doing terrible things to you for no logical reason whatsoever.
Important Passages (Per Sean):
Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.
At the time not a soul in sleeping Holcomb heard them— four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives. But afterward the townspeople, theretofore sufficiently unfearful of each other to seldom trouble to lock their doors, found fantasy re-creating them over and again— those somber explosions that stimulated fires of mistrust in the glare of which many old neighbors viewed each other strangely, and as strangers.
The Rupp family were Roman Catholics, the Clutters, Methodist— a fact that should in itself be sufficient to terminate whatever fancies she and this boy might have of some day marrying.
“Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
He may successfully accumulate, but he does not accumulate success, for he is his own enemy and is kept from truly enjoying his achievements.”
“When Homer died, I used up all the fear I had in me, and all the grief, too. If there’s somebody loose around here that wants to cut my throat, I wish him luck. What difference does it make? It’s all the same in eternity. Just remember: If one bird carried every grain of sand, grain by grain, across the ocean, by the time he got them all on the other side, that would only be the beginning of eternity. So blow your nose.”
Imagination , of course, can open any door— turn the key and let terror walk right in.
They were crazy about each other, but he was jealous as hell, and he made her so miserable, being jealous and always thinking she was passing it out behind his back, that she shot herself, and the next day Jimmy put a bullet through his head.
Whether you realize it or not— your present confinement is embarrassing to me as well as Dad— not because of what you did but the fact that you don’t show me any signs of SINCERE regret and seem to show no respect for any laws, people or anything.
He can seem so warmhearted and sympathetic. Gentle. He cries so easily. Sometimes music sets him off, and when he was a little boy he used to cry because he thought a sunset was beautiful. Or the moon. Oh, he can fool you. He can make you feel so sorry for him—”
Envy was constantly with him ; the Enemy was anyone who was someone he wanted to be or who had anything he wanted to have.
The trouble was that they were forcing each other to mourn and remember what in fact they wanted to forget.
fits in with the psychoanalytic hypothesis that the child’s exposure to overwhelming stimuli , before he can master them, is closely linked to early defects in ego formation and later severe disturbances in impulse control.
However, even an attorney of moderate talent can postpone doomsday year after year, for the system of appeals that pervades American jurisprudence amounts to a legalistic wheel of fortune, a game of chance, somewhat fixed in the favor of the criminal, that the participants play interminably, first in the state courts, then through the Federal courts until the ultimate tribunal is reached— the United States Supreme Court.