The Environment in In Cold Blood

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Many plays and novels use contrasting places to represent opposed ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. Truman Capote uses such an idea in his novel, In Cold Blood. Two such contrasting places in his novel are the Clutter house and The Lansing Penitentiary. The Clutter house is a welcoming, vibrant place with a peaceful aura. The Lansing Penitentiary is a dark, condemning place with ... Aura.

Before the homicide of the Clutter family, the Clutter farm ,known as The River Valley Farm, was well known for its beauty and the care put into it. Situated at the end of a long, lanelike driveway shaded by rows of Chinese elms, the handsome white house, standing on an ample lawn of groomed Bermuda grass impressed the city of Holcomb and was a place that people pointed out. The beautiful farm, with its various fruit trees and flowers, was the pride and joy of Herbert Clutter who built the big home with his own hands.

The Clutters were a very welcoming family who took time to give back to their community as much as possible and went to church every Sunday. Nobody had a negative thing to say about them or a hard feeling against them. Their house was well recognized and admired for it's beauty and the story behind the making of the house.

In contrast to the vibrancy of the Clutter house is the Lansing Penitentiary. Built during the Civil war, this turreted black and white palace is what visually distinguishes the otherwise ordinary town of Lansing. Twelve gray acres of cement streets and cell blocks and workshops are enclosed by machine gun guarded walls fill the Kansas State Penitentiary and in the south corner lies a small two story coffin shaped building. Dick Hickock and Perry...