Anti Death Penalty Argument English Literature Essay

The first such point is the belief that DickA HickockA and Perry Smith ‘s test was unjust and unfair. It begins with Capote indicating out the deficiency of enthusiasm of the attorneies assigned to the instance: A

“ I do non want to function, ” [ Smith ‘s attorney ] told the justice. “ But if the tribunal sees fit to name me, so of class I have no pick. “ A Hickock’sA lawyer. . . accepted the undertaking with resigned grace: “ Person has to make it. And I ‘ll make my best.A Though I doubt that ‘ll do me excessively popular around here. “ A ( 257 ) A

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A A A This is what worries anti-death punishment advocates, since work forces and adult females ( normally hapless and unable to afford an lawyer ) could be killed non because they are guilty, but because they are non decently represented. Their first determination in tribunal isA notA to alter locales ( 266 ) , a point that comes up subsequently under entreaty. Capote persists in indicating out questionableA judgementsA of the justice every bit good. He does non let the defence to utilize head-shrinkers to analyze Perry and Dick, holding with the prosecution that “ medical physicians in general pattern ” were good plenty ( 267 ) . He does non detain the beginning of the test, even though the Clutter ‘s estate auction occurs one twenty-four hours before the test starts ( 269 ) . The jury procedure seems baleful as good: A


During theA voirA direA scrutiny, four of [ the prospective jurymans ] told the tribunal they had been personally, though non closely, acquainted with Mr. Clutter ; but upon farther oppugning [ they ] did non experience this. . . would impede [ their ] ability to make an impartial finding of fact. . . . [ One juryman ] said, when asked his sentiment of capital penalty, “ Normally I ‘m against it.A But in this instance, no ” – a declaration which. . . seemed clearly declarative of prejudice.A [ He ] was however accepted as a juryman. ( 273 ) A


A A A Finally, exposure of the dead Clutters were allowed to be shown to the jurymans at test, against the expostulation of Dick ‘s attorney, who felt the images would “ prejudice and inflame ” theirA judgementA ( 281 ) . Jointly, these issues show a test procedure below the belt slanted against Perry and Dick. Anti-death punishment advocators would indicate out that an unjust trail taking to a decease punishment strong belief is non justice, but an luxuriant artifice to warrant revenge.A

A A A Another point binding into the test itself is the tribunal ‘s refusal to accept that Perry and Dick were non psychologically responsible, and hence non punishable, for the slaying of the Clutters. Capote shows several times in his narrative how each slayer may non hold been sane. As a first cause of this mental instability, Capote points out ( and repetitions ) how Perry and Dick were both injured in car wrecks ( 134, 279, 292 ) . By making so, he elicits understanding for the slayers, every bit good as demoing a possible alibi for their behaviour. Their actions and ideas surely walk the line of saneness. Perry confesses he was in a sort of fugue province while slaying the Clutters: “ But I did n’t recognize what I ‘d done boulder clay I heard the sound ” ( 244 ) . Both Dick and Perry describe the act of slaying with a upseting two-dimensionality of emotion. Dick tells Perry, “ Let ‘s number on eight, or even twelve. The onlyA sureA thing is every one of them has got to travel ” ( 37 ) .A ( As if speaking of holding dinner invitees, alternatively of slaying people! ) A Perry says, “ I thought [ Mr. Clutter ] was a really nice gentleman.A Soft-spoken.A I thought so right up to the minute I cut his pharynx ” ( 244 ) .A Subsequently, he tells a gaol visitant, “ It ‘s easy to kill – a batch easier than go throughing a bad cheque ” ( 291 ) . Perry besides has his personal oddities, non least of which is the belief running throughout the narrative that he will be rescued by a elephantine xanthous bird, even in gaol ( 265 ) .A

A A A Hampered by theA M’NaughtenA regulation, which states that condemnable insanity is possibleA merely ifA the accused does non cognize the difference between incorrect and right ( 316 ) , Perry and Dick ‘s attorneies can non come in into grounds the sentiments of physicians with a broader scope of “ insane. ” Capote, nevertheless, gives two such physicians ample room in the book to reason their point. Dr. Jones believes that Dick ‘s hurt could hold physiological deductions to his psychological province, therefore doing his actions outside of his control ( 294-295 ) . Perry ‘s mental wellness is even more questionable ; he suffers from “ ‘paranoid ‘ orientation, ” “ ill controlled fury, ” and a broken idea procedure ( 296-297 ) . Dr.A Satten, a forensic head-shrinker, besides felt that Perry and Dick entered a “ mental occultation ” outside of their control ( 302 ) . ( It is of import to observe how Capote devotes four pages to extract fromA Satten ‘s ” MurderA WithoutA Apparent Motive ” diary article, 298-302. ) An anti-death punishment advocator would indicate out the jobs with “ killing ” Perry and Dick if their mental softness is even perchance true ; they are merely “ ill ” people, in demand of intervention and compassion, non punishment.A

A A A Nevertheless, the Kansas Supreme Court, when given many of the above statements, denied Perry and Dick ‘s entreaty ( 329 ) . The slayers are sent to decease row, and this leads to Capote ‘s concluding effort to rock the reader to an anti-death punishment prejudice. It is clear from the manner Capote shows the decease punishment being carried out which side he is on. InA Kansas, it is done by hanging the felon, and Capote describes it graphically.A

A A A Lowell Lee Andrews is the first to hang in the book. Dick is a inexorable informant: A


“ Old Andy, he danced a long clip. They must hold had a existent muss to clean up. Every few proceedingss the physician [ would look into for a pulse, A thenA measure outside ] . I would n’t state he was basking the work – kept gasping, like he was panting for breath, and he was shouting, excessively. . . . I guess the ground he stepped exterior was so the others would n’t see he was shouting. Then he ‘d travel back and listen to hear if Andy ‘s bosom had stopped.A Seemed like it ne’er would.A The fact is, A his bosom kept crushing for 19 proceedingss. ” ( 331-332 ) A


A A A Capote punctures two balloons of the pro-death punishment advocator in this narrative. One is the feeling of supposed satisfaction from transporting out the highest signifier of justness. The province physician ‘s crying shows the equivocal feelings of those very retainers of justness. The 2nd is that felons do non endure while being executed. Hanging is clearly non “ cruel and unusual penalty ” when the condemnable takes 19 proceedingss to die.A

A A A This leads into Dick ‘s hanging, who “ hung for all to see a fullA twentyA proceedingss before the prison physician at last said, ‘I pronounce this adult male dead ‘ ” ( 339, my italics ) , and the duologue between a guard and a newsman afterward:


[ The guard says ] , “ They do n’t feelA nil. Drop, catch, and that ‘s it. They do n’t feelA nil. ”

“ Are you certain? I was standing right near. I could hear him panting for breath. ”

“ Uh-huh, but he do n’t experience nothing.A Would n’t be humanist if he did. ”

“ Well. And I suppose they feed them a batch of pills.A Sedatives. ”

“ Hell, no.A Against the regulations. . . . ” ( 340 ) A


A A A It should besides be noted how this is a premier illustration of Capote ‘s poetic licence. For “ non-fiction, ” this would be a singular effort of photographic memory or attentive hearing to capture such word for word duologue between two people. . . if it was really said out loud at all. For a fresh full of exact names, Capote softly keeps the “ guard ” and the “ newsman ” anon. . Could it be Capote is stealing his ain personal ideas into two fictionalized characters? A

A A A Perry is hung following. Al Dewey, the K.B.I. investigator, gives a concluding poignant minute to his decease: A


Dewey shut his eyes ; he kept them shut until he heard the thud-snap that announces a rope-broken cervix. . . . He remembered his first meeting with Perry in the question room. . . the dwarfish boy-man seated in the metal chair, his little booted pess non rather brushing the floor. And when Dewey now opened hisA eyes, that isA what he saw: the same infantile pess, tilted, swinging. ( 340-341 ) A


A A A When the investigator who was in charge of the Clutter slaying instance feels understanding for the slayer, and indirectly, belittling capital penalty every bit good, it is hard non to experience the same. Capote is to thank, or incrimination, for taking the reader to this decision. He may make it brightly, but it shows how the relation of a narrative is ever influenced by who tells it. That prejudice is non incorrect in a non-fiction novel, so long that you can see the fiction from the fact.A



Quotation marks from Truman Capote’sA In Cold Blood, Vintage International, A New York: 1994.

( backA to place )



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