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Through His Account of the Clutter Family Murders, and the Lives of Their Killers in ‘in Cold Blood’, Truman Capote Reveals That the American Dream Is an Illusion. Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on September 2, 2013
  • Category: English
  • Length: 736 words

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Below is an essay on "Through His Account of the Clutter Family Murders, and the Lives of Their Killers in ‘in Cold Blood’, Truman Capote Reveals That the American Dream Is an Illusion." from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

In 1931, James Truslow, author and historian, defined the American Dream, saying “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.” The concept of the ‘American Dream’   is so ingrained deeply within the United States, that their Declaration of Independence states "all men are created equal" and are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" such as "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  

Though death and justice are the primary concerns of Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, the author uses these ideas to accentuate the illusion that is the American Dream. Through the Clutter family’s life and death, the intrinsic fragility of this aspiration is exposed. The killers, so bent on pursuing their own vision of the dream, ultimately destroy not only a rare semblance of the dream in the Clutters, but also any chance either stood at attaining life, liberty or happiness.  

Living peacefully in Holcomb, Herb Clutter epitomised the concept of a ‘self-made man’- he begun humbly and worked his way to a prosperous ranch owner respected and revered amongst his friends and associates. He and his family resided and live off land as independent people. This existence however,   was arbitrarily annihilated by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith- men who were different to this family in all ways imaginable.   Despite the Clutter’s supposed success in ‘living the dream’, this success did not equalise with security. In their murder, they were stripped of , as author Thomas Wolfe stated, “ the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him.”


On page 69 of the novel, a schoolteacher in Holcomb is quoted saying ‘Feeling wouldn’t run half so high if this had happened to anyone except the Clutters. Anyone less admired. Prosperous. Secure. But that family represented...

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MLA Citation

"Through His Account of the Clutter Family Murders, and the Lives of Their Killers in ‘in Cold Blood’, Truman Capote Reveals That the American Dream Is an Illusion.". Anti Essays. 14 Dec. 2018

<http://parimatchstavki7.com/free-essays/Through-His-Account-Of-The-Clutter-508092.html>

APA Citation

Through His Account of the Clutter Family Murders, and the Lives of Their Killers in ‘in Cold Blood’, Truman Capote Reveals That the American Dream Is an Illusion.. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 14, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://parimatchstavki7.com/free-essays/Through-His-Account-Of-The-Clutter-508092.html