How Women Are Presented in 'in Cold Blood'

943 words 4 pages
Through Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ we observe 1950’s America where society was predominantly patriarchal with women expected to fulfil domesticated roles; this entailed staying at home to look after the family and women who did work were expected to do maternal jobs such as nursing and teaching.
Capote presents some females as conformists to such a society which is seen through the lives of Nancy and Bonnie; conforming to 1950s America proves to be detrimental to their lives. Nancy Clutter is intellectual and driven yet is shown to be confined by cultural ideals of gender roles at the time. Bonnie Clutter is presented as a fragile, damaged individual who was once happy and prospective. During her domestic role she is deeply depressed; this
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Bonnie is presented to find satisfaction in an independent life. The dynamic verbs ‘had taken an apartment, then found a job’ highlight how she gained independence from doing things which were male orientated. At this time period we see how women seeking independence would be seem as being ‘like a man’. Capote presents how women were conditioned to feel guilty if they didn’t embrace the feminine role, seeing it as unnatural. The intensifier and adjective ‘liked it too well… Seemed to her unchristian’ show the guilt Bonnie felt over her independent life.
Flo Buckskin is presented as differing from the normative ideal for a woman at this time. She is described by Capote as a ‘lean Cherokee girl’, the proper noun phrase highlights how she is separate from society due to her heritage and that it’s an inescapable part of her identity. She is presented as being different from other women through the concrete noun phrase ‘rode a wild horse’ which was a male associated activity.
Capote presents how being a single mother was difficult at this time through the proper noun phrase ‘once sinewy, limber Cherokee girl’. The adverb once shows her loss of potential, the proper noun Cherokee girl highlighting how she was now left with nothing as there were few prospects for a woman in her state. Capote presents how she was now a victim to alcohol through the abstract noun phrase ‘liquor had soured her soul’. This emphasises how her life without a


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