The Ending of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

As the “In Cold Blood” (Capote, 1965) is a non-fiction novel, it is often described as a true mirror to the society. Published just a few years after the original murder that took place in Kansas, it is a clear confrontation of the traditional family values of the farming community. (Lewis, 2006)

The last part of the book describes the jury’s verdict and its effects. The murderers’ views are described alongside with the Judge’s and the jury’s. It is interesting how Capote suggests that Judge Tate might be somewhat partial in the case. A good example for this is when he gives the readers a hint about his lifestyle and values: “Judge Tate, however, had to be fetched from his farm, where he had gone to feed his horses”. (Capote, 1965). That put into contrast with the lifestyle of the murderers’.

The ending of the book includes an empathetic account of the murderers and all the characters present during the trial, and that is why this non-fiction book was a great success at the time; it covered the events in an unconventional way. Capote is trying to diminish the stereotypes that exist in the contemporary society. The twist is a brilliant solution from the author in the end; suggesting all the way to the readers that Dick (Hickock)  was the one who committed the murders “in cold blood” while Perry (Smith) showed remorse. Adding emotional and characteristic descriptions that support that theory make believable. That way, it is a good example of  a book teaching readers about the dangers of stereotyping. When Perry says that Dick wanted to rape Nancy shocks the audience. While later the psychiatrist is unsure whether Perry is indeed a paranoid schizophrenic, the mystery stays with the reader, providing a suspense in the end to the novel. It is a real “retrial” of the two characters in front of the readers’.


Lewis, N. (2006) Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood – New Journalism as an Instrument of Social Criticism GRIN Verlag

Capote, T. (1965) In Cold Blood. Transaction Publishers 2006 ed.