In E.L Doctrorows novel, The Waterworks, Mr McIlvaine suggests that some stories were, not… reportorially possible.
.. that there are limits to words in a newspaper (page 201). The character Mr McIlvaine like Truman Capote the author of In Cold Blood are both journalists who have found stories to which they feel newsprint, in itself would not have brought justice. Therefore to what extent has truth in narration, and truth through journalism influenced the writing of the novels of In Cold Blood and The Waterworks?
Truth is hard to define, the Collins English Dictionary(1992) defines truth as, state of being true, and true as, in accordance with the facts, exact, correct. If we are to strip something down to its bear essentials like a newspaper headline we would hear that, CLUES ARE FEW IN SLAYING OF 4 (Page 97, In Cold Bold) or in the case of The Waterworks: Telegram freelance reporter gone missing after allegedly seeing dead father.
These headlines although truthful do not tell the whole truth, so in away they misrepresent the real truth.
In trying to find the truth both authors take different approaches. In Cold Blood is written in the voice of an omniscient narrator. Capote was drawn to the Clutter killings by reading a headline in a newspaper of a killing in Holcomb, Kansas of four family members (Stephen Harris December 1999) and wanted to find out more than what could be transmitted through news media, he wanted to really investigate talk to the people and find the truth. Capote rarely alludes the reader to himself, and the investigative lengths he went to, to get the story. Capote is able to go into such detail due to these investigations.
We are told in the, Acknowledgments, that, All the material in this book not derived from my own observation is either taken from official records or is the result of interviews with the persons directly concerned (Page 9). In Cold Blood is told as a life narrative not as a traditional factual account. Capote has added depth by using the narrator and realistic imagery as a filler between real factual evidence, documents, newspaper articles and interviews.
The Waterworks is a fictional novel. Doctorow uses the character McIlvaine, a newspaper Editor of the New York Telegraph, to tell the story through the technique of realistic reportage of Martain Pembertons disappearance, Martian Pembertons fathers reappearance and a greater social evil. McIlvaine is always questioning his journalistic morals, he defines journalism as, the cheapest commonest realm, the realm of newsprint.
My realm.(Page 8). MacIlvine constantly questions his own objectiveness towards the story of the Pemberton family, Did that mean I found myself prepared to put the interest of the story ahead of the lives of the people involved in it? (Page 200),. The conflict within McIlvaine seems true but there is no real conflict as this is a work of fiction. When McIlvaine puts himself across as a credible narrator the reader is able to better accept the rest of the story he is telling. Despite this in The Waterworks there are many devices used to make the book seem real or truthful.
These will be explained latter.
Did Capote (a journalist himself), have the same moral struggle when writing the work In Cold Blood as McIlvaine had in The Waterworks? The text never alerts the audience to any struggle of journalistic duty between the truth and the rights of the victims and the offenders, but there are areas in which one could argue there was such conflict. Capote edited out certain parts of Dick Hitckocks letter in which, Hickock revealed his pedophiliac tendencies,(Page 278). Capote had obviously in this instance decided that the rights of Hickoks victims were more important than the publics right to know. whether Capote was forced to edit out these parts of the book we will never know, because of the style of narration Capote has chosen, but the greater question is, Has anything else been left out because of its sensitive nature?
Stories, which are often as complex as the people who write them, can be altered in many ways, such as how the writer was feeling at .