Examples of Juxtaposition in Cold Blood

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 759 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 759|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Rural vs. Urban Divide
  2. The Clutter Family vs. Smith and Hickock
  3. Truth vs. Fiction
  4. Conclusion

Truman Capote's groundbreaking non-fiction novel, Cold Blood, is an exemplary work that intricately weaves together the juxtaposition of various elements to create a compelling narrative. Juxtaposition, the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side, often to compare or contrast them, is a literary technique that Capote skillfully employs throughout the novel to create a sense of tension, irony, and depth. In this essay, we will explore several examples of juxtaposition in Cold Blood, examining how Capote uses this technique to underscore themes, develop characters, and engage readers on a deeper level.

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The Rural vs. Urban Divide

One of the most prominent examples of juxtaposition in Cold Blood is the stark contrast between the rural setting of Holcomb, Kansas, and the urban environment of the criminals, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Capote introduces the peaceful and idyllic town of Holcomb, where the Clutter family resides, as a place where "the land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible from many miles away" (Capote, 3). This serene and picturesque portrayal of Holcomb serves as a striking counterpoint to the gritty and chaotic world inhabited by Smith and Hickock, who hail from the bustling cities of Las Vegas and Kansas City.

The juxtaposition of the rural vs. urban settings serves to highlight the clash between innocence and corruption, order and disorder, and the mundane and the extraordinary. By juxtaposing these two contrasting environments, Capote effectively underscores the theme of the intrusion of violence into the peaceful heartland of America. Moreover, the stark differences between the settings serve to underscore the alienation and disconnection felt by Smith and Hickock in the rural landscape, emphasizing their status as outsiders and strangers in a foreign land.

The Clutter Family vs. Smith and Hickock

Another compelling example of juxtaposition in Cold Blood is the stark contrast between the Clutter family and the perpetrators of their murder, Smith and Hickock. Capote meticulously portrays the Clutter family as upstanding, virtuous, and beloved members of the community, emphasizing their kindness, generosity, and moral integrity. In contrast, Smith and Hickock are depicted as ruthless, callous, and morally bankrupt individuals who lack empathy and remorse.

The juxtaposition of the Clutter family's inherent goodness with the malevolence of Smith and Hickock serves to amplify the sense of tragedy and injustice surrounding the murders. By presenting these two polar opposite portrayals, Capote invites readers to contemplate the depths of human depravity and the capacity for evil that exists alongside acts of kindness and compassion. Moreover, the juxtaposition of the Clutter family and their killers serves to underscore the senseless nature of the crime, as well as the profound impact it has on the community and the wider American society.

Truth vs. Fiction

One of the most fascinating examples of juxtaposition in Cold Blood is the interplay between truth and fiction within the narrative. Capote blurs the lines between reality and storytelling by presenting the events of the Clutter murders as a work of non-fiction, while employing literary techniques and narrative devices typically associated with fiction. This juxtaposition between truth and fiction creates a sense of ambiguity and complexity within the narrative, challenging readers to grapple with the nature of reality and the subjective nature of truth.

Capote's use of juxtaposition in this regard serves to underscore the elusive and enigmatic nature of the truth, as well as the inherent unreliability of memory and perception. By weaving together elements of fact and fiction, Capote invites readers to question the veracity of the events depicted in the novel, as well as the motives and perspectives of the characters involved. Moreover, the juxtaposition of truth and fiction serves to emphasize the power of storytelling and the ways in which narratives can shape our understanding of reality and the world around us.

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Truman Capote's Cold Blood is a masterful example of the use of juxtaposition to create a rich and multi-layered narrative. Through the juxtaposition of rural vs. urban settings, the Clutter family vs. Smith and Hickock, and truth vs. fiction, Capote skillfully highlights the complexities of human nature, the blurred boundaries between good and evil, and the enigmatic nature of truth. By employing this literary technique, Capote engages readers on a profound level, challenging them to confront the inherent contradictions and paradoxes that define the human experience. Cold Blood stands as a testament to the enduring power of juxtaposition in literature, offering a compelling and thought-provoking exploration of the human condition and the intricate interplay of contrasting elements within our lives.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Examples Of Juxtaposition in Cold Blood. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Examples Of Juxtaposition in Cold Blood.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Examples Of Juxtaposition in Cold Blood. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
Examples Of Juxtaposition in Cold Blood [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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