In Cold Blood—Part One Questions/Activities (The Last to See them Alive)
Make a character chart in your notebook—each time you meet a new character, write down his/her name and a description of each. Note the page numbers where you found the information on that person.
Make a timeline of the events which occurred in the Clutters’ last day. On one side, jot down what the Clutters were doing, and on the other, jot down what Perry Smith and Dick Hickock were doing.
III. Answer the following questions:
1. From what point of view is the novel written, and how does the type of narration affect how the book is read?
2. Where is Holcomb located?
3. Herb Clutter is a successful farmer in Holcomb, and he owns the River Valley Farm. What are some characteristics ascribed to him?
4. For what large event is the Clutter family planning that will soon take place at their farm?
5. What effect is achieved through the use of the simile comparing grain elevators to Greek temples?
6. What is the purpose of the opening section of the text ending with “and as strangers” What details are discussed and why?
7. According to the text, what is Mr. Clutter’s only reason for “disquiet” in his life?
8. What aspect of River Valley Farm is Mr. Clutter’s pride and joy?
9. How do the narrative voice and the sentence structure of the text change when the story shifts from descriptions of the Clutter family to descriptions of Dick Hickock and Perry Smith?