In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - Book Club Discussion Questions

Book Club Discussion Questions

The Undergraduate Times

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is a nonfiction novel that tells the story of the murder of a Kansas family in 1959. Use these book club discussion questions on In Cold Blood to discuss Capote's literary masterpiece.

Spoiler Warning: These questions reveal important details about In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Finish the book before reading on.

  1. How does Capote build suspense despite the fact that readers know the ultimate outcome from the beginning of In Cold Blood?
  1. In what ways is In Cold Blood like a fiction novel? How does Capote report the facts and allow different voices to speak without using a journalistic style?
  2. In Cold Blood starts with details about the Clutter family's last day alive. Did any of the details particularly stick out to you? Did Capote make you feel attached to the family by sharing these details?
  3. Were there any other characters you empathized with because of small details Capote wrote about them? Bobby Rupp? Alvin Dewey?
  4. Why do you think Capote split the narrative into three sections? Why do you think he did not describe how the murders happened until Dick and Perry were caught and gave their confessions?
  5. Did you feel sympathy for Dick or Perry at any point?
  6. How did Capote humanize the killers? Were you surprised by how likable they could seem despite the brutality of their crime and unremoresefulness to the end?
  7. Capote seems to paint Perry in a more sympathetic light than Dick. He seems sensitive and even kind at points; however, by the end you find out that Perry committed all four murders. Did that surprise you? Did you sympathize with Dick more than Perry at any point? Or did you not buy any of the kind characterizations?
  1. Do you think Dick and Perry were sane? Did the psychiatric analysis of them and descriptions of other cold blooded killers surprise you? Scare you? Make you think differently about violent crime or the death penalty?
  2. Rate In Cold Blood by Truman Capote on a scale of one to five.