Study Guide

In Cold Blood Plans and Dreams

By Truman Capote

Plans and Dreams

You make plans, right? Even as you're reading this, you're probably deciding about whether to watch "The Office" reruns before or after you finish that essay on "Sociopathic Personality Disorder in In Cold Blood." Maybe you even have longer-term plans—finish school, get a Ph.D. in British Literature, get a great job—hahahahaha. Seriously, most of the characters in this book have plans, some more realistic than others. The tragedy of the story is that the people with the most carefully-constructed plans don't live to see them through. Capote's taking a pretty fatalistic view. You know what old Robert Burns wrote: "The best laid plans of mice and men…" Hmmm, we think that would make a good title for another book.

Questions About Plans and Dreams

  1. Why do Dick and Perry's plans always seem doomed to failure?
  2. How do the murders affect the townspeople's view of future planning?
  3. What were the common aspects to all of Dick and Perry's plans?
  4. What's the role of imagination in the plans and dreams of the characters in this book?

Chew on This

Herb Clutter was luckier than Perry and Dick because he was able to have his plans work out and theirs were thwarted at every turn.

Herb Clutter was more successful because he made longer-term, more realistic plans than Dick and Perry.