88 pages 2 hours read

Truman Capote

In Cold Blood

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1965

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Pre-Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. What are the first three or four words, ideas, events, or people you associate with America in the 1950s?

Teaching Suggestion: In Cold Blood takes place during the late 1950s—one of the most mythologized eras of American life. To this day, mentioning the decade tends to evoke images of middle-class prosperity, white picket fences, and cheerful housewives equipped with a variety of new domestic appliances. However, the 1950s were also a period of great tension and turmoil in the form of racial segregation, the Cold War, and the beginnings of what would become the 1960s counterculture. Use students’ responses to tease out these contradictions, which are at the heart of Capote’s exploration of the American Dream’s fragility as well as midcentury norms of masculinity.