Monday, 4 August 2008

In Cold Blood - Metaphor?

Would you say that 'in cold blood' itself constitutes a metaphor?

I ask because of the quote taken from the book of that title by Truman Capote that I use as a signature for this blog.

The metaphor being that heat alludes to one of the four humours, i.e. choleric, or hot; the one of the four that equates to violence, vengefulness, or bad-temper, so an act committed in cold blood insinuates the opposite, i. e. pre-meditated, calm, and unemotional. Thus 'in cold blood' is a not a direct description but a metaphor for an attitude or state of mind.

If this is so, then those searching for a metaphor of 'in cold blood', as people do, are wasting their time for they are looking for a metaphor of a metaphor.

One could, I suppose, arrive at a Proustian laden metaphor upon a metaphor:

'He struck her down in cold blood that was chill as an icicle broken from the roof of the only chalet located at 5,000m on Mount Everest, stored in a deep freeze, and flown the 6,827 miles home to Milton Keynes to be used to make the perfect dry martini. He was that cool. She, on the other hand, as her life blood drained away, was merely cooling."

(Though this, of course, is a simile.)


Lane said...

Well I read your post earlier today and thought hmmm ... I'll have to think about that. Had a thunk and I'm still thinking ...:-)

Girl On The Run said...

I think Truman Capote's treatment of the Murderers could be considered a metaphor for 'Cold Bloodedness'

DOT said...


Thanks for your thunk.


Not sure what you mean; are you suggesting his whole analysis of the lives and motives of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith is an extended metaphor of what cold bloodness is?

I would call it just that, an analysis.

You could also argue from my perspective that Capote, in fact, deconstructs the phrase that is the title of the book.

Was Perry Smith, the main protagonist, truly cold-blooded as an individual, if not, what made him capable of what most would regard as a very cold-blooded act?

Isn't that the condition governing the book?

Limlam said...

Dunno about any of that but In Cold Blood is a truly amazing book and its good to see it referenced in this way.All the hairy chest with the novel.Enjoyed reading this blog and am heartened by the descriptions of such strong father-daughter relations.

Girl On The Run said...

No Imean his treatment of them is cold blooded - especially Perry