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In Cold Blood Truman Capote. AP Language & Composition. Learning Targets: Students will…. d evelop greater awareness of authors’ intentions and Analyze how writers use their language choices to influence readers Understand and engage in academic discourse

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in cold blood truman capote

In Cold BloodTruman Capote

AP Language & Composition

learning targets students will
Learning Targets: Students will…
  • develop greater awareness of authors’ intentions and
  • Analyze how writers use their language choices to influence readers
  • Understand and engage in academic discourse
  • Understand effects of literature on societal and global communities
  • Argumentation (whoa)
in cold blood a context for reading


AP Language & Composition

a new genre
A New Genre
  • Creative nonfiction
    • (written like a novel but true)
  • Melding journalistic nonfiction with imaginative writing
    • Why is this highly controversial?
      • Capote takes readers exactly where he wants them to go

“I wanted to produce a journalistic novel, something on a large scale that would have the credibility of fact, the immediacy of film, the depth and freedom of prose, and the precision of poetry.”

essential question
Essential Question:

The tone of the book reveals the author's attitude toward his subject matter.  Capote intended In Cold Blood to be both objective (non-judgmental) and sympathetic.  Is this possible?

about truman capote context for writing
About Truman Capote: Context for Writing
  • Born in 1925; died in 1984
  • Felt abandoned by parents
  • Friends with Harper Lee (Dill)
  • Deep connection to the south
  • Elitist in Manhattan, NY
about truman capote context for writing1
About Truman Capote: Context for Writing
  • Not a great student, but avid writer
    • Considered himself one, didn’t want to be one
  • While repeating senior year, got job as a copy boy for the magazine he idolized.
    • The New Yorker's working environment was quite the opposite of the high society image the magazine portrayed.
      • Truman, a flamboyant, eccentric, and very noticeable boy, stood out
        • Meeting Truman

Capote first learned of the murders through an article in the New York Times

  • First learned about the murders through an article in the New York Times
  • “Then one morning in November, 1959, while flicking through The New York Times, I encountered on a deep-inside page, this headline: ‘Wealthy Farmer, 3 of Family Slain’…It suddenly struck me that a crime, the study of one such, might provide the broad scope I needed to write the kind of book I wanted to write.”

He spent 6 years on icb.


The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “outthere.”

Clutter Family Home (as it stands today)



The Victims and the Murderers

herb clutter
Herb Clutter
  • Head of the Clutter household
  • Well-liked, respected member of the Holcomb community
  • Fairly prosperous
bonnie clutter
Bonnie Clutter
  • Wife of Herb Clutter
  • Mother of four
  • A recluse
nancy clutter
Nancy Clutter
  • Daughter of Herb and Bonnie Clutter
  • Well-liked and popular
  • Bright, energetic, responsible
  • Dating Bobby Rupp
kenyon clutter
Kenyon Clutter
  • Son of Herb and Bonnie Clutter
  • Quiet and reserved
  • Enjoys working with his hands
  • Fifteen years old
perry smith
Perry Smith
  • Convicted thief
  • Sentenced to Kansas State Penitentiary
  • Met Dick Hickock in jail
dick hickock
Dick Hickock
  • Inmate in Kansas State Penitentiary
  • Friend of Perry Smith
  • Learned of Clutter family from fellow inmate Floyd Wells

Revisiting the Scene, meeting characters

A Copy of the Case File


Photo gallery with captions

truman capote s account
Truman Capote’s Account
  • In Cold Blood was originally published in The New Yorker as a four-part series, beginning on September 25, 1965. It sold out immediately.
  • It was published by Random House for the first time as a novel in 1966.
  • CAPOTE trailer
stylistic rhetorical trends

Stylistic & Rhetorical Trends

AP Language & Composition

stylistic and rhetorical trends
Stylistic and Rhetorical Trends
  • Alternating Point of View
  • Spatial organization  not totally chronological
stylistic rhetorical trends1

Stylistic & Rhetorical Trends

AP Language & Composition

the american dream
The American Dream
  • ICB presents a conflicted image of the notion of the American Dream.
    • portrays a prosperous, homogenous, middle-class community, Holcomb, Kansas, that is forced to question its values and its sense of safety and security when the Clutter family is murdered.
  • Many texts during this time period questioned validity of the American Dream.
america in the 1950 s
America in the 1950’s
  • Marked by an expanding middle class, confident consumer spending, and the early development of American suburbia.
  • Having emerged from its involvement in World War II, America was eager to focus on the proliferation of an affluent middle class at home.
  • The popularization of the automobile and new product advertising through television and magazines revolutionized American households.
  • BUT – Cold War tensions widespread fear of communism
additional universa l subjects
Additional Universal Subjects
  • Banality of Evil
  • Family
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Self-Image and Ego
  • Nature versus Nurture
  • Sexuality
  • Humanism versus animalism
  • Mental illness

The Death Penalty (subject/message/purpose)

    • Interview with Truman about the dealth penalty

Free Template from

instructional design with icb

Instructional Design with ICB

AP Language & Composition

an online literary forum what is i t
An Online Literary Forum:What is It?
  • Groups of students read the same text to participate in a mutual reading experience.
  • Based on the objectives and skills taught during classroom instruction, students will take on a variety of roles throughout the reading experience.
  • Students are provided with opportunities to interact and respond to one another as they read to interpret a common text.
an online literary forum objectives learning targets purpose
An Online Literary Forum:Objectives/Learning Targets/Purpose
  • Students read a text beyond the regular classroom curriculum.
  • Students read a common text to engage in critical reading and thinking exercises.
  • Students participate in a critical discussion of a common text to understand others’ perspectives of the text.
  • Students will analyze literary and rhetorical elements of a text and effectively communicate his/her analysis with peers.
  • Students will make connections to other spheres of culture and society to the text’s themes, motifs, symbols, characters, etc., thereby demonstrating a transferability of skills and maturity in thought.
  • Students participate in an online community of learners to develop their skills in social media software and social media etiquette.
  • Students write for a variety of audiences and purposes.
an online literary forum logistics and overview
An Online Literary Forum:Logistics and Overview
  • Each student will become a member of a literature circle group composed of approximately 10 students.
  • Each student will respond to the essential question/prompt posted each week. To respond, you may refer to the possible “roles” provided.
  • After reading the assigned pages in the text, each student completes his or her role and posts this assignment as a thread on the online discussion forum under the appropriate thread.
  • Each student then reads his or her group members’ postings and thoroughly discusses their work and the text.
  • Students read the second half of the text and repeat steps 3-4.
an online literary forum requirements
An Online Literary Forum:Requirements
  • Students must complete a total of two postings of his/her literature circle role assignment between due dates.
  • Students must respond to the essential question with a thoughtful response, making connections to and beyond the text.
  • Further, you will be responsible for responding to at least one group member’s response with a thoughtful, respectful response.
an online literary forum hints for success and sparkle
An Online Literary Forum:Hints for Success (and sparkle)
  • Allow the discussion to become natural.
    • The discussion may seemed forced at first, but lead the discussion of the text in a way that you become invested and engaged in the text and your group’s discussion of the text.
  • All posts should demonstrate critical thinking and common courtesy. Disagreements and debates are a natural part of discussion; however, such discussions should focus on the topic and should not demean anyone.
  • All posts should demonstrate a proper use of language so that communication is clear and pleasant for all. This means standard English should be used—nonstandard abbreviations, slang, and foul language is not permissible.
  • Post assignments and comments long before the deadline so that everyone has time to examine and post to your work.
  • Evaluation will be focused on the individual. You are responsible only for your own work and your own postings.
  • Create an account for the literary forum. Yes, I will check.
  • By Friday, you must respond to the essential question.
  • By Monday morning at 8:00, you must have responded to at least one classmate.
  • Note: this book will be discussed throughout the quarter, and you will have quizzes throughout (Fridays).