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Essay on Capote Vs Krakauer
The most important thing any writer can do is to give their characters a feel of

dimension to make them seem real. Although Capote and Krakauer do that in very

different ways in In Cold Blood and Into Thin Air, they both reached the same end result:

characters you believe. They give them thoughts, faces and personalities. They don’t

portray everyone as flawless, they display the faults and the little quirks. They give them

life through words, making these stories believable. Despite the fact both incidents

happened years before each book was written, the use of detailed facts and personality

profiles make each story seem incredibly realistic. But while Capote chooses to write an

entirely objective piece, Krakauer relies heavily on personal opinion and experience,

creating two very distinct frames of mind and causing the reader too see the characters in

each book very differently.

In 1959 the Clutter family was murdered in a tiny Kansas town called Holcomb.

Six years later Truman Capote wrote a very detailed book about the whole case, from the

day of the murder to the court case prosecuting the two murderers, Dick and Perry.

Although he wasn’t there when the four murders happened, through word choice,

description and characterization he creates an accurate portrait of the many intense events

surrounding such a tragic story.

In comparison, in 1996 esteemed climber Rob Hall led an expedition of

moderately experienced climbers attempting to climb Mt. Everest, only to result in

disaster and the loss of nine people’s lives. Jon Krakauer was a member of that

expedition, and wrote a piece about the misadventure for Outside magazine. Feeling there

was more to be said, soon after he wrote a book. Krakauer takes a similar approach as

Capote, yet inserting more opinions and less of a feeling of objectiveness to his

characters. This is most likely since Krakauer was living Everest first hand, as opposed to

Capote who put himself into the environment years later, picking up details here and there

instead of relying solely on memory and friends.

One of Capote’s greatest strengths is to create thought for his characters, making it

almost appear as if he knows what they are thinking.


All summer Perry undulated between half-awake stupors and stickly, sweat-drenched

sleep. Voices roared through his head; one voice persistently asked him, “Where is Jesus?

Where?” And once he woke up shouting, “The bird is Jesus! The Bird is Jesus!” (381)

This selection almost creates a...
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Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Random House Publishing, 1966.

Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air. New York: Villard Books, 1997
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Capote Vs. Krakauer. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from