In Cold Blood – What Was the Name of Perry’s Pet Squirrel?
After a series of arrests, Perry is finally sentenced to life in prison in the novel, In Cold Blood. During this period, women were often housed in cells off the kitchen. They were often related to the kitchen, so Perry develops a relationship with a squirrel outside his cell window. While in jail, he learns the name of this squirrel, which becomes an important part of his life.
Dick’s pet squirrel
Perry has no friends in the novel, but he quickly makes a friend with a squirrel outside his cell. The story follows Perry as he works to free his friend’s father, who is being held as a suspect in the murder of Nancy Clutter’s family. In the course of the novel, Perry comes to know Dick well and develops a close friendship with the squirrel, which helps him to stay away from other criminals while serving time in prison.
The plot of In Cold Blood begins with the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Herb Clutter takes out a life insurance policy for $40,000 and leaves the family’s palatial house on River Valley Farm unlocked. They have two children, Kenyon and Nancy. Kenyon is a boy’s best friend, and Nancy is the town sweetheart. While their relationship is strained, they get along well.
The twisted psychological inclination of the parrot and the complex past of the main character in Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood are echoed by the characters in this crime thriller. Perry Smith, the convicted murderer, is an archetypal criminal and a victim of both nature and nurture. However, his past and present combine to make him a killer.
In this classic novel, Dick and Perry are arrested while collecting their belongings from the rooming house. They are later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. They are sent to the Kansas State Penitentiary after being found guilty. Dick insists that the trial was unfair and urges Perry to confess. Perry briefly goes on a hunger strike and identifies with the image of a golden parrot and a spiritual connection to Jesus. Upon receiving his father’s postcard, Perry decides to eat.
Don Cullivan is Perry’s friend and pet squirrel. In Cold Blood, Cullivan visits Perry in jail. He is a Christian, and is concerned for Perry’s soul. He admits that he enjoys Perry’s company, but ends the letter with the thought that God’s grace has spared him from becoming a criminal. Cullivan is Perry’s friend, but also a threat.
Don Cullivan is a former army officer. He and Perry met during a mutual acquaintanceship. Perry wrote to Don Cullivan about Dick’s innocence and invited him to the elaborate dinner that Perry had prepared for him in jail. His wife cooked the meal and lent her the finest silver and table linens. Perry made the squirrel his pet during his imprisonment. But his friend’s death has a different consequence.
In Cold Blood explores the question of what constitutes normal mental health. Bonnie suffers from bouts of nervousness, while Perry and Dick are deemed mentally ill, but both of them are adamant that their crimes were committed in self-defense. The novel also explores the concept of sexual norms. While it is not clear whether they were in fact committed by a madman or a lunatic, one can assume that they were akin to a psychopath.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.