Francis Dolarhyde: What Role Does His Mother Play in His Life?

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“The way mothers interact with their babies in the first year of life is strongly related to how children behave later; interventions focusing on parenting during the first year of life would be beneficial in preventing future child conduct problems”1. This study, released by the Science Daily website, shows a positive relationship between a toddler’s actions and the way his mother interacts with him as a baby. These facts can be easily implied on the main antagonist in the novel, Red Dragon, known as Francis Dolarhyde. Dolarhyde is portrayed in the novel as a film technician; he is also a serial killer. The question of how Dolarhyde came to be a serial killer can be answered through looking back at his past. The fact that he was abandoned by his mother the moment he was born is the main reason that led to him become a serial killer. Sadly, the reason his mother abandoned him is because he was born with abnormality in his face; this also played a role in him becoming a serial killer.
“Then she closed her eyes and did not open them while they brought the baby in. Finally she looked. They shut the door when she screamed. Then they gave her a shot. On the fifth day she left the hospital alone” (Ch. 25). The reaction of Dolarhyde’s mother was very striking, a mother is supposed to accept her child no matter what shape he is born in; if she did not do that, then how does she expect others to do that. Dolarhyde’s grandmother was the only one available to take care of him after his own mother abandoned him. However, even his grandmother did not acknowledge herself as his legal guardian until he spent five years at an orphanage. “Near the end of his fifth year, Francis Dolarhyde had his first and only visitor at the orphana...

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...o a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. To me, you are a slug in the sun. You are an ant in the afterbirth” (Ch. 20). This belief can be seen as completely insane, no human can ever be transformed into a dragon, but to Dolarhyde thinking this way helped him feel better about himself.
Dolarhyde’s excessive hatred to people and his great desire to kill them were mainly because he did not receive the necessary care as a child from those who should have given it to him. Dolarhyde grew up without parents; and his only caregiver, his grandmother treated him harshly. The torture he had to go through while living with his grandmother is all because his mother did not love him enough, due to the way he looked, to take care of him. Altogether, lack of love and being bullied from those surrounding him, led Dolarhyde to become a serial killer that everyone feared.

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