|Contextualising In cold Blood|

Level 5, Subject: Year 2

today we were given a lecture directed at the penguin book project to mainly focus on the story line in which we have been appointed. i mentioned within my previous post about in cold blood and looked into different book covers that have been previously done. however today we analysed and discussed within further detail about the book covers used.

we were first off given more of a back story on Truman Capote himself, focusing mainly on his relationship with perry throughout his visits. this allowed him to be critiqued on his the way in which the film and the book was written and directed. it is to be said that capote was so preoccupied by the murderers characters within the novel, that this caused for many different view points to be portrayed throughout the book and to navigate back in time within the film to show the flashbacks within perry’s childhood.

When the novel came about being written the main purpose was meant to be stating facts upon the events that happened on the night of the murder and the short period of time between that and the deaths of the murderers, but after capote had conducted more interviews with dick and perry he realised that there was more to it than just the clippings and articles that had been portrayed within the media. Capote decided to show more of the characters and really delve into their psychological states. whilst doing this it lead him to concentrate more on perry as a more complex character, perry was a very intelligent man and this made capote sympathise with him as a character and find a slight common ground with himself and perry.

the way in which the novel has been written due to this relationship between perry and capote actually allows for many changes of opinion on the characters within the novel, as spectators we get to see the many things that actually influence and create the situation in which happened within the novel itself. Due to the relationship with perry that capote had created this allowed for belief from perry that he would be seen as not guilty and would be set free, however the way in which capote had written the novel actually confirmed his involvement more within the events rather than setting him free. fully aware of that his own creativity and knowledge had stood more than their lies. This became the one piece of work within the public eye that had made and destroyed capote as a writer. finding common ground with perry had allowed capote to become aware of his own manipulative techniques that he hadn’t realised before.


i am going to analyse in further detail 4 other book covers of Truman Capotes in cold blood, taking into consideration why the imagery has been chosen plus the placement of the text that has been used.

image 1: 


within this cover this shows the two different perspectives daily thought upon within the book. using just the eyes of the killers creates the idea of looking straight into the mind, the use of the eyes not looking directly at the camera allow for the idea of uncertainty and the feeling of a guilty conscious. This also allows us to see that the book is mainly focused on the killers within the novel rather than the victims which is more of an interesting concept as the killers had no motive to really kill the family itself. the use of black and white within the cover is another reoccurring theme within the visuals of in cold blood, this allows to show the timeframe in which the event occurred and the use of reality within the image. subconsciously we associate black and white images with reality as factual evidence that we would see within the media and within newspapers.

image 2:


the use of the imagery is really effective as the eyes peering over the top of the in cold blood title are slightly behind everything and are within the shadows.the positioning of the eyes over the imagery of the crime scene creates the idea of observing, invading someones home without being detected. the idea of being unknown like they’re not actually there is quite prominent within this visual. the way in which the eyes are actually the only part of the person you see also adds suspense to the cover and creates a presence of the killer without actually being seen. The photograph of the scenery also generates suspense as the image is clearly a photograph it creates the idea that the killer was actually there, as if the image had been taken there and then. the use of photographic images throughout also gains a sense of reality, this novel was in fact a true story and therefore the image reminds you that this is a true crime. a true crime novel and one of the first if that.

image 3:



the imagery used creates a sense of reality, the imagery looks as if there is a newspaper clipping and photograph put on the front of the case file for the crime. essentially the use of the murder enquiry file showing that the case did infect happen. also using the newspaper clippings is a reminding of the true story and gives the reader a slight insight into the book without giving too much away as the photograph has been strategically placed upon the newspaper so that you would have to read the book to see what actually happens within. the photograph is of the real life clutter family. using the imagery of the real family makes the novel more relatable and the imagery is of the family at Christmas stood around celebrating, this is a normal family photograph that most family will have within their household. therefore reminding the viewer that this could have happened to anyone and the killers had no motive to do so to such a normal and average family.

image 4:


the imagery within this visual actually stands out more than the use of typography. this cover shows a picture of the author himself, this is very unusual as this doesn’t occur normally, however due to the relationship with himself and perry and the fact of how invested capote is within this true crime story, an image of himself outside of the crime scene actually shows how much research and effort he actually put into the book itself. the cover also includes imagery of the family and the killers, not in enough depth so that you would know what had happened but enough to get the sense of the book itself. the other images used are actual images of the area in which the event took place, showing how this was a normal quaint town in which not much happened. portraying the idea again that this is a true story and it literally could happen anywhere.

image 5:


the use of imagery within this visual is very simple, the use of the journal and the glasses of capote closed and placed on top, creates the idea that the story is finished that capote has closed this chapter of his life and that the event is intact over with. the journal on the cover represents the use of perry’s journals that he was given when they were both on trial, allowing to engage further with perry’s mind and really see what his thoughts were within that time frame. this helps create the concept of capote finishing writing and finishing reading all of the information needed. the imagery reminds me of quite psychological imagery creating the idea of cognitive therapy and the way in which tat helped perry.


when it came to this lecture i found this particularly useful and helped me generate more ideas as i became at a point where i felt that most things had been done and i found it difficult to come up with more unique and innovative designs.




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