AP Language and Composition – In Cold Blood

May 12, 2011

Note from Miss Bodine

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All questions are now posted and answers are due on Friday, May 20th by 3:00 pm.  This is the equivalent of a final paper grade, so please take your time in answering questions.

Question #11: Opinion: Nature vs. Nurture

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Which is more important: nature or nurture? You must use evidence from the book to support your answer.

Question #10 – Opinion: Timeliness

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Truman Capote said “timeliness” was important to writing great journalism. He said, “[Y]ou want to be reasonably certain that the material not soon date.” Forty years after In Cold Blood’s first publication, does the book still possess an element of “timeliness”?

Question #9 – Opinion: Death Penalty

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Does Dick deserve the death penalty? Does Perry? Does anyone? You must use evidence from the book to support your answer.

Question #8 – Links

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Read and respond to one of the articles on this website: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/crime/murder/in_cold_blood/.

May 4, 2011

Question #7 – Theme

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What is the theme of this novel?

April 25, 2011

Question #6 – Plot/Structure

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How does Capote build suspense despite the fact that readers know the ultimate outcome from the beginning of In Cold Blood?

What is the effect of the author’s use of montage (repeatedly switching back-and-forth between Holcomb and the approaching killers)?

Capote recounts the story in a certain order, beginning with the day of the murder, and proceeding to the discovery of the bodies, the investigation of the crime and capture of the criminals, and the trial and execution. At what point does Capote depict the murder scene? How does he work Perry’s and Dick’s backgrounds into the narrative? Think of alternative plot structures that Capote could have used, and analyze why you think Capote structures the events as he does.

Question #5 – Setting

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Describe Holcomb. In what ways is it an ordinary town? In what ways is it different? How does it compare to familiar towns in Carteret County? Why does the author spend so much time describing the town?

How does the description of the jail at the beginning of Part IV contribute to the development of the novel?

Question #4 – Tone

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Is Capote an objective or subjective narrator? As you explain your answer, be sure to include your definitions of “objective” and “subjective,” as well as ample evidence from the book for support.

April 14, 2011

Question #3 – Character Development

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Capote carefully depicts the personalities of secondary characters, such as Al Dewey. Why do you think he does this and what do these detailed portraits add to the book? Which of the secondary characters do you find most memorable and why?

What techniques does Capote use to characterize the killers? Does he make you feel sympathetic toward Dick or Perry?

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