Wanted: Perry Edward Smith

For Multiple Counts of Murder and Forced Entry

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How to Spot Smith

One wittiness described him as "His tiny feet, encased in short black boots with steel buckles, would have neatly fitted into a delicate lady's dancing slippers; when he stood up, he was no taller than a twelve-year-old child, and suddenly looked, strutting on stunted legs that seemed grotesquely inadequate to the grown-up bulk they supported, not like a well-built truck driver but like a retired jockey, overblown and muscle-bound, outside the drugstore" (Capote,9)https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/30/c2/54/30c254f16ec60a24458418c67095d1ae.jpg

We are looking for a man who is short and stocky with large arms and small feet,and black slicked back hair. He was last seen with another man his supposed accomplice Dick Hickock. "He was short and stocky" (Capote 79)

The Unfortunate Story Of Perry Edward Smith

Smith's difficult Beginnings

Smith was born into a family of rodeo performers in Nevada in 1928. A year later the family relocated to Alaska where his father worked as a bootlegger and his actions toward his wife and children became abusive. In 1935 Perry's mother left her father with the kids but her drunken habitats lead to her death when Smith was only thirteen. He was admitted to many orphanages where he was abused by nun's(Capote,57) and later rejoined his father but he soon became involved in street gangs and other unlawful activities often ending up in juvenile detention.

Smith's father, as well as two of his siblings committed suicide. His other sister terminated contact between them

The Clutter Family Murder

Saturday, Nov. 15th 1969 at 11:45pm

Clutter Family Home Holcomb Kansas (Capote,1)

During the cleaning of the house the Capote simply discuses the location of the four murdered clutters. "They went first to the furnace room in the basement, where the pajama-clad Mr. Clutter had been found sprawled atop the card board mattress box. Finishing there, they moved on to the playroom in which Kenyon had been shot to death. The couch, a relic that Kenyon had rescued and mended and that Nancy had slip-covered and piled with mottoed pillows, was a blood-splashed ruin; like the mattress box, it would have to be burned. Gradually, as the cleaning party progressed from the basement to the second floor bedrooms where Nancy and her mother had been murdered in their beds, they acquired additional fuel for the impending fire - blood-soiled bedclothes, mattresses, a bedside rug, a Teddy-bear doll." (Capote,48)

How does this background information about Perry create bias in the story?

As we learn more background information about Perry Smith we are natural more sympathetic to him. If we take the his early life and forget for a moment the horrible act he committed we find that he had a very difficult upbringing. He never passed the third grade and his home life was always bad even when only one parent was his caregiver. After her death during his time in catholic orphanages he was abused further emotionally and physically by nuns for his chronic bed wetting. Taken at face value the unbiased observer would feel bad for him and that factors into the bias we have. The townspeople don't know him like we do, while we were given this exposition the only thing they know is he one of the men responsible for the family murders. They are judging Perry based on one of his actions and assume (build a bias) that he a bad man who has no remorse or bad feelings about what he did.

Honors Credit: Do you think a person’s experiences as a child impacts who he or she becomes? Why or why not? How do you think Perry’s childhood affected him? Do you think his childhood played a part in his crimes? Explain.

I believe that a persons experiences even at a young age make a huge impact who they become as an adult. Most would agree that a child that is raised in a harsh third world environment will have different experiences as a child raised in the US. For most US children their memories as a child are a birthday party or riding a bike. Well in a third world nation most children don't have the access to a bike, so they certainly have different experiences but they still may turn out the same. In the case of third world children they are more likely to be more mentally tough then there american counterparts who are not exposed to the same childhood experiences. In the case of Perry his childhood resulted in obvious repercussions in his later life. The most obvious is his relationship with nun's. He was Raised in many catholic orphanages where he was ridiculed for his chronic bed wetting, often beaten because of it. So naturally his relationship with nuns as a child has shaped his current feelings toward them. However i don't feel that his rough childhood can be blamed for his slanderous actions.