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The theme of the writer as the character behind the story was a well-integrated one in this essay. Hilton Als narrates a change in culture towards the theatrical, drama-seeking society that needs to know the dirt behind its entertainment as well as the selfish and sometimes harmful intentions that may reside behind a work of art.

However, overall “The Women” was an off-putting read for me because it seems to be a strange sort of feature piece on a man who the author has never actually spoken to; at least there was no sign in the writing that he had. Despite having no quotes from Capote besides what he has said in his writing, Als makes a lot of assumptions about Capote’s intentions. The idea that Capote “steals” from women in order to become the ultimate author and woman — someone with both male authority and feminine charm/ sexuality — is a very interesting theme, and that may well have been what the sum of things equated to, but I can’t help feeling that this is a dirty piece because of the fact that it says rather accusatory things about a person without giving that person a real voice outside of his works, which one cannot assume express his real life values. The idea is present that Capote switches between male and female personas based on the current popular terrain in order to stand out, and the claim is made that Capote “sought to cock block other women writers” as if that were his explicit intention. Als also refers to Capote’s gender switching as his “self-delusion,” which seems in direct contrast to his previous essay which spoke of gender as an ever-changing reality inside all individuals.

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