As I was cleaning up my room the other week, I came across a paper I wrote for a psychology class way back in 2001. The subject was Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter.
This piece also gives you an idea of my writing style almost 10 years ago.
The Silence of the Red Hannibal
Once you’ve read into the world of author Thomas Harris—beyond the course of the sophisticated terminologies lays quite a deafening silence. It’s the kind of reticence that an individual experiences as they attempt to digest everything that the author has to offer. Personally, I have likened the experience to that of a familiar “soft cot” located on the darkest and deepest corner of the Chesapeake State Hospital…beyond a “distance greater than human reach”— oh, and least I forget the “stout nylon net stretched from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall.”
The Becoming of Him:
The ever-sibilant Francis Dolarhyde referred to himself as Him (The Dragon and erroneously the Tooth Fairy as well) during the course of Red Dragon. An awakening, not only for Gateway’s production supervisor but also for Dr. Hannibal Lecter—the “supporting/supporting” character in the book.
Lecter, described as a small and sleek gentlemen of 41, was often poised with the grace of a dancer and though his role was somewhat “supportive” in the novel…many (“avid fans”) could see his potential to be something bigger…something larger…with the shear ability to transcend the confines of non-fiction itself.
Forensics’ Special Agent Will Graham, the main character of this piece, describes Lecter’s personality best:
“He did it because he liked it (murders). Still does. Dr. Lecter is not crazy, in any common way we think of being crazy. He did some hideous things because he enjoyed them. But he can function perfectly when he wants to.”
“They say he’s a sociopath, because they don’t know what else to call him…has correspondence with a number of individuals in-and-out of the field of Psychiatry. That is of course if they amused and interested him.”
By what went through his mind when he was not doing any of these things? Times when his personal belongings were taken from him because he stepped out of the acceptable norm. A single thing stood out from my readings—his incredible sense perception.
Dr. Lecter could smell a freshly placed band-aid on an individual who stood several feet away from him…he would conceptualize what he could not visualize in his mind—literally reconstructing it as if it’s presence were before him. Finally, the ability to perceive deceit—he could see that one coming a mile away.
Am I Evil?
This was a question thrown by Lecter to Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Clarice proceeded by associating it with destruction. And this was Hannibal’s response:
“Evil’s just destructive? Then storms are evil, if it’s that simple. And we have fire, and then there’s hail. Underwriters lump it all under “Acts of God…I collect church collapses recreationally?” Did you see that recent one in Sicily? Marvelous? The façade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special Mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If He’s up there, He just loves it…Typhoid and swans…it all comes from the same place.”
Lecter again made a similar reference to “God’s satisfaction in taking lives” in a letter to Will Graham regarding the death of a one Garrett Jacob Hobbs,
“…God dropped a church roof on thirty-four of His worshippers in Texas…Don’t you think that felt good? Thirty-four. He’d let you have Hobbs…He got 160 Filipinos in one plane crash…He’ll let you have measly Hobbs.”