Study Guide

In Cold Blood Family

By Truman Capote


The nuclear family was the bedrock of society in Holcomb and Garden City. But In Cold Blood contains many examples of families with different situations and suggests that families aren't always determined by blood. Families in this book are seen as something that protects you. Capote makes it very clear that a lack of family ties is what makes Perry such a social misfit. A good family isn't a guarantee you'll be okay—Dick and Lowell Lee Andrews being the prime examples—but in general, barring mental illness, a loving family goes a long way.

Questions About Family

  1. Whose memories of their family do you think are more accurate—Perry's or his sister's? Why?
  2. How has the definition of a family changed since the time of this book?
  3. What makes the Clutter family seem so perfect to the townspeople?
  4. How does Bonnie Clutter's depression affect the roles of the people in her family?

Chew on This

Isolated people like Perry, who have no close family ties, are at high risk for social deviance.

Perry was at high risk for deviance because of his family's DNA, not their treatment of him.