The Path of Nature Versus Nurture in In Cold Blood

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

A Common Psychological debate is whether individuals are controlled by nature vs nurture, The story of In Cold Blood shows how the character of Perry was led down the path of nurture. Through the story Perry attributes the sorry state of his life to a childhood filled with constant violence and neglect. On the other hand, there are also individuals that are controlled by nature more than nurture such as Dick Hicklock. Throughout the story Dick has shown that he is clearly mentaly unstable and needs serious help. He can’t experience any sense of emotional connection to another person or have concern for the effect of his actions on anyone else. With the evidence shown in the book it is shown individuals are controlled by nurture tremendously more than nature.

As a child, Perry was all in all a pretty happy kid, until his father started brutally beating his mother, who in return started to drink heavily. Do to her circumstnces she brutally dragged her kids to San Francisco, and she ended up commiting suicide. Then Perry ended up in a series of orphanages and Salvation Army homes, where he was beaten for wetting the bed and tortured by the overseers. According to the text it states, “there was this one nurse, she used to call me ‘nigger’ and say there wasn’t any difference between niggers and Indians. Oh Jesus, was she an Evil Bastard! Incarnate. What she used to do, she’d fill a tub with ice cold water, put me in it, and hold me under until I was blue”. Even though Perry is a criminal he didn’t truly want to kill the Clutters, he just delt with too much trauma in his life and sadly the Clutters had too suffer. In the passage it also states, “And it wasn’t because of anything the Clutters did. They never hurt me. Like other people. Like people have all my life. Maybe it’s just the Clutters were the ones that had to pay for it.”

Dick Hicklock is in one way a prime example of how individuals are controlled by nature more than nurture. Dick has loving parents, and had a normal childhood. By his parents’ and his own account he was a good kid, did well in school, participated in nine sports. But like Perry, he feels as if life hasn’t given him what he deserves and he feels entitled to get it by whatever means necessary. But we learn throughout the story that attachment disorder, he can’t experience any sense of emotional connection to another person or have concern for the effect of his actions on anyone else. This lets him do what he does without being particularly bothered by it, but still think he is normal. According to the textual evidence it states, “‘Deal me out, baby,’ Dick said. ‘I’m a normal.’ And Dick meant what he said. He thought of himself as balanced, as sane as anyone—maybe a bit smarter than the average fellow, that’s all. But Perry—there was, in Dick’s opinion, ‘something wrong’ with Little Perry.” Dick uses Perry as a cover his own self-image, often belittling for his more eccentric, “childish,” or effeminate qualities, in comparison with which Dick convinces himself that he is “normal. But told in the story Dick had got into a car accident, and his father stated that he was never that same after that day which may be the cause of his problems. According to the book it states, “I still think the reason he started doing stunts such as that was connected with the smash-up. Concussed his head in a car smash-up. After that, he wasn’t the same boy. Gambling, writing bad checks, I never knew him to do them things before”. As reader can see Dick’s father was way ahead of his time. Now that scientists can look inside the brain, they’re looking at what kinds of brain damage might lead to criminal behavior by affecting aggression and impulse control. Nature does have the power to take control over somebody’s life but with the evidence given from the book, “In Cold Blood” nurture has a tremendous hold over an individual’s life and can lead them with trauma for the rest of their life.

Furthermore from “In Cold Blood” there is an abundant amount of evidence shown that support both cases too whether nature or nurture can controls individuals life. But with the evidence given Characters such as Perry gives readers reader the belief that nurture can control individuals more than nature. Readers are shown the traumatizing experience Perry has had to go through in his life and how it has shaped him into the person he is today. Perry isn’t truly a Criminal or a Killer he just has dealt with so much trauma in his life that he was driven to make the wrong decision and sadly the clutters who were innocent had to pay the price. However with Dick we see that his nurture was perfectly simple and for other terms normal. He had a normal mother and father,he grew up in a stable environment. But we know that he got into car accident an since that from his fathers words he was never the same. To conclude, nurture has strong control over people life than nature.

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