现代哥特恐怖是对邪恶的典型反应，而我们的文化并没有对这个问题给出系统的理性解释。”在《冷血》中，杜鲁门·卡波特利用哥特风格的传统和比喻来探索克拉特家族四次被杀后堪萨斯内部的“邪恶”。卡波特通过聚焦克拉特一家和他们的杀手来挑战善与恶的二分法，揭露了人性的复杂性。卡波特向美国社会表明，他们和克拉特家族一样，与他们可能认为的凶残的外来者并没有太大的不同。佩里·爱德华·史密斯的成长经历与他敏感的天性和艺术才能并存，这给美国社会提出了一个问题:如果佩里表现出善意，并被包括在内，他是否可能成为社会的一名有贡献的成员。卡波特通过调查和运用哥特小说来扰乱读者，揭示这个典型的美国州的现实。《冷血》迫使美国社会重新审视为什么他们排斥不符合社会“规范”的人，并审视社会“以眼还眼”的恢复性司法方法。Teresa Goddu认为“美国哥特式暴露了民族神话的文化矛盾……”，这一点在克拉特家族的呈现中表现得很明显，因为它挑战了传统的美国家庭观。从表面上看，这个家庭似乎很完美，然而卡波特对谋杀案的调查，以及随后的《冷血》的写作，暴露了混乱生活的复杂现实。赫伯特·克拉特是“社区里最广为人知的公民”，他是卫理公会教派的虔诚信徒，戒烟、戒酒、戒咖啡。赫伯特·克拉特是一位成功的农民，似乎是社区里最完美的父亲和成员。然而，随着故事通过赫伯特聚焦，读者开始意识到家庭中被压抑的问题。赫伯特的妻子邦妮“神经紧张”，经常受“小魔咒”的折磨。这些似乎是赫伯特的直接引语，或者说是社区成员的引语，卡波特用引号把它们与正文隔开，卡波特经常夸耀自己能一字不差地记住对话。随着故事的继续和读者推断出邦妮患有产后抑郁症，“可怜的邦妮的痛苦”的描述的还原性被暴露出来。这与哥特式的个人和社区压抑那些他们觉得不舒服的东西有关，读者们意识到邦妮自从第一个孩子出生后就一直在受苦，但由于这个问题没有得到适当的解决，她还在继续奋斗。只有通过邦妮的死亡和卡波特的调查，她的疾病的性质才得以重新审视。邦妮把自己称为两个版本——“旧的自己”和“现在的自己”，因为她不再是赫伯特爱上的那个“胆小、虔诚、娇弱的女孩”了。这种二分法令人不安，因为邦妮似乎只是以前的自己的一个外壳，因此西格蒙德·弗洛伊德的“神秘”理论被利用了。人们对邦妮精神疾病的了解不仅被她周围的人所压抑，最终阻碍了她的康复，而且由于没有解决这个问题，一个不那么有吸引力的二重身也就形成了，人们可以认出她是邦妮，但又不完全一样。杰弗里·温斯托克(Jeffrey Weinstock)认为，哥特式小说“塑造了文化上特有的焦虑”，这里很明显，美国梦的暗示和构成美国特色的东西被揭露为虚假。
Modern Gothic horror was the characteristic response to evil in a culture that provided no systematic intellectual explanation for the problem.’.Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood utilises the conventions and tropes associated with the Gothic genre to explore this ‘evil’ within Kansas following the quadruple homicide of the Clutter family. Capote challenges the dichotomy of good and evil through focalisation the narration through both the Clutter family and their killers, exposing the complexity of human nature. Capote suggests to American society that they, like the Clutters, are not so different from the murderous outsiders as they might have thought. Presentation of Perry Edward Smith’s upbringing is juxtaposed with his sensitive nature and artistic capabilities, this poses questions to American society about whether if shown kindness and included, Perry might have been a contributing member of society. Capote investigates and employs the Gothic to disturb his readers and reveal the reality of this quintessential American state. In Cold Blood forces American society to re-examine why they ostracise others when they do not conform to societal ‘norms’, and examines society’s ‘eye for an eye’ approach to restorative justice. Teresa Goddu argues that ‘the American gothic exposes the cultural contradictions of national myth…’, this is evident in the presentation of the Clutter family as it challenges the traditional view of the American family.Outwardly the family appear perfect, however Capote’s investigation into the murders, and subsequent writing of In Cold Blood, exposes the complex reality of the Clutter’s lives. Herbert Clutter is ‘the community’s most widely known citizen’, a man heavily involved in the Methodist Church and one who abstains from cigarettes, alcohol and coffee Herbert Clutter is a successful farmer and appears to be the perfect father and member of the community; however, as the narration becomes focalised through Herbert the readers become aware of the family’s suppressed issues. Herbert’s wife, Bonnie is ‘nervous’ and suffers from ‘little spells’. These appear to be direct quotes from Herbert, or members of the community, as Capote uses inverted commas to isolate them from the body of the text, Capote frequently boasted his ability to remember conversations verbatim. The reductive nature of the descriptions of ‘poor Bonnie’s afflictions’ are exposed as the narrative continues and the readers deduce that she suffers from postpartum depression. This links to the Gothic idea of the individual and community repressing things they find uncomfortable to address, the readers are aware that Bonnie has suffered since the birth of her first child but continues to struggle as the issue is not properly addressed. It is only through Bonnie’s death and Capote’s investigation that the nature of her illness is re-examined. Bonnie refers to herself as two versions – ‘old self’ and her current self – as she is no longer the ‘timid, pious, delicate girl’ that Herbert fell in love with.This dichotomy is unsettling as Bonnie appears to be merely a shell of her former self and thus Sigmund Freud’s theory of ‘The Uncanny’ is played upon. It does not only appear that knowledge of Bonnie’s mental illness is repressed by everyone around her which ultimately prevents her recovery, but that by not addressing the issue a less appealing doppelganger is formed, recognisable as Bonnie but not quite the same. Jeffrey Weinstock argues that the Gothic ‘gives shape to culturally specific anxieties’ and here it is evident that the allusion of American dream and what constitutes Americanness is exposed as a falsity.
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