Historical Facts

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Date Submitted: 06/02/2013 10:50 AM

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Engagement of Historical Facts in The Book of Daniel and In Cold Blood

The Book of Daniel, published in 1971, and In Cold Blood, published in 1966, are novels based on historical events which occurred in the United States in the eve of the détente period. Even with their influence of historical fact, both of these works are considered novels, and contain a certain level of information that is not true. Capote, however, would consider his work a “non-fiction novel” since the book is based on a true murder story. Capote states everything in the book is true and that he merely employed facts and quotes together to make a novel. This “non-fiction novel” genre could also encompass The Book of Daniel, being it is loosely based on the lives and family of the convicted conspirators, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

In addition, it must be said neither of these authors are new reporters. Therefore, neither one of them must adhere to a sense of objectivity when writing these novels. This is why Doctorow and Capote can challenge the objectivity of the stories and alter them to emotionally engage the reader. Having the ability to recreate these historical events gives the author a chance to play with or re-write history. Their stories can be written in ways which shed new light on the events, and possibly change the reader’s opinion and emotional reaction from when they first heard of the news story to after having read the associated novels.

In the book In Cold Blood the narrator discusses with much depth the lives of the two murderers, Perry Smith and Richard “Dick” Hickock. Their planning before the murder and their fleeing thereafter were documented from quotations Capote took from first-hand interviews. Even information about the entirety of their lives, from their first memories of childhood, to their interviews with Capote, was discussed. However, the information and the quotes used seem to be used such that one of the two appears more forgivable than the other....