Richard C. White (nightwolfwriter) wrote,
Richard C. White
nightwolfwriter

  • Mood:

Some novels just aren't meant to be scrutinized

I'm working on my research paper for Ethics in Literature and we're studying In Cold Blood for our final project. I know, using the name Truman Capote and Ethics in the same sentence is just asking for lightning to strike me any second. Still, I'm torn. I really like the novel. I think it's well-written, I think Capote did a pretty good job keeping himself out of it, (although his friendship (or more) with Perry Smith is way too obvious), and I think he did a great job of making the characters believable.

However, it's just not a "Non-fiction novel".

It's a good novelization of a historical fact. Not a damn thing wrong with that. I also don't object to his creative recreation of conversations and events that he couldn't possibly have been at. Cornelius Ryan did that in "The Longest Day" and no one pillories him over that.

It's just that Truman fudged the facts when he had them available because it made for a better story and THEN bragged to George Plimpton and anyone else who'd listen to him that his novel was "immaculately factual".

Dear Truman . . . in a pig's eye.

Maybe it's the historian in me, but to have 8000 pages of notes (that he refused to ever show anyone since "the novel stands on its own"), and to still make blatant mistakes or even faking facts to make certain points just rubs me the wrong way. Paying Donald Cullivan to stand in for Capote in the jail scenes with Perry Smith is so unethical it's painful. It was wrong to try and pay Herbert Nye to not say anything about the book when Nye complained about how he and other Kansas Bureau of Investigation members were given short shrift by Capote. Now, there's nothing wrong with the fact that Capote and Albert Dewey became friends during the investigation. Dewey, according to everything I've researched was a good cop in his own right, but some of the stories attributed to him by Capote were actually other men on his staff.

And this just starts to scrape the surface of the errors, inaccuracies or blatant mistellings of the facts in the book.

As I said, it's a great novel, but its just barely more accurate than your average Wikipedia entry. There's a lot of story that Capote left out and let's just say, some people weren't quite as sympathetic as Capote made them out to be. It's probably a good thing people were a lot less litigious back in 1965 than they are today or Capote might have been passing out a lot of that $2,000,000 he made on the book to a bunch of people in Holcomb, Kansas.

*sigh*
Tags: classes, novels, reviews, writing
Subscribe

  • For A Few Gold Pieces More is LIVE (and more)

    And it’s loose in the wild. For a Few Gold Pieces More was released on 14 Feb and the reviews and comments have been outstanding so far.…

  • Counting down the days

    And we’re less than two weeks out from the release of my short story collection, For a Few Gold Pieces More. I’m definitely looking…

  • Quoth the Raven …

    And on the heels of the release of For a Few Gold Pieces More, I’m happy to announce StarWarp Concepts will be publishing the first of the…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 4 comments