Friday, November 6, 2009

The Change in Holcomb

Even though the residents in the Holcomb area appeared to be content at the beginning of In Cold Blood, the atmosphere drastically changes; as many of the residents beginning to turn on each other, not trusting the people around them.

Like the Clutter’s, the town seemed to be perfect in multiple ways, but after the murders of the Clutter family Capote takes the towns image of perfection and abstracts it. By displaying mistrust in Holcomb, Capote stresses the affect of the murders and the Clutter’s importance within Holcomb. As the town is viewed in part 1 Capote describes it by stating, “The land is flat, and views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them.” (3) Capote uses a simile to compare Holcomb to Greek temples, which are by this time in ruins. The simile that Capote uses gives the impression that Holcomb was beautifully destroyed. Holcomb’s perfection and beauty was destroyed by the rare events of the Clutter’s murder. As the town turns to ruins, many become scared. Capote in part 1 says, “…sufficiently unfearful of each other to seldom trouble to lock their doors…” (5) The town’s people, before the disturbing murder of the Clutter’s, were so trusting that they didn’t even make an attempt to lock their doors. Though this was true at first the feeling of safety and security left the area, many not trusting to even open the door. Alvin Dewey, detective on the case, speaks to his wife one night, their conversation showing the change for many, saying, “…when you come home tonight, you’ll have to ring the doorbell. I’ve had all the locks changed…Just lock the doors and turn the porch light on…what’s wrong? Marie scared?..Hell, yes…her and everybody else.” (87) The fear throughout Holcomb was truly intense, as people became paranoid and others running in fear, leaving the town for good. Mrs. Ashida, a family friend and one of the last to see Herb Clutter alive, speaks of her departure of Kansas stating, “We used to argue about it…After what happened to Herb and his family, I felt something around here had come to an end. I mean personally. For me. And so I quit arguing. I said OK.”(117) The town was had completely changed, rather the distrust of neighbors or something more, Mrs. Ashida noticed that the perfection “had come to an end”. The town was also described by partners of Dewey stating, “It just shut you up. The strangeness of it. Going out there, where we’d always had such welcome.” (78) The town had fallen completely in ruins, its perfection no longer there.

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