The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris Essay example

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris Essay example

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The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris


The novel The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is said to fall under the genre of psychological horror. The stories that fall under the genre of horror include a few essential elements: a villain or one seen as evil to create an initial story line. The foil is the next element; a foil is a person who tries to stop the villain from going through with the evil plan or plot. These two elements naturally lead to conflict between the two persons or groups and then from this conflict -- suspense, the last element is added. Suspense is important to keep the reader interested and to keep the story line going. When psychology is added to a story, the definition of horror is changed completely. There are still those few essential elements above but there is also a few more added. The story now has something to do with the mind and how it works, and there is really no definition for that. The mind and it's workings are a mystery to us and that mystery of the mind adds to the suspense and therefore the idea of psychology and horror are able to go together and become one. This essay will prove that The Silence of the Lambs is indeed a psychological horror according to the five criteria above along with other sources. The first element to a psychological horror is a villain, and the villain is The Silence of the Lambs is Mr. Jame Gumb. He is a white male in his mid thirties, 'most serial killers are white male, unemployed, intelligent and experience financial difficulty.';(Bonata, 3) Gumb is all of these things, he is unemployed but a very skilled seamstress, and using these skills is making himself a second skin out of women who he is able to take control of and render them powerless. He is also very intelligent but is anable to interact with other people and therefore remains unemployed. He experienced financial difficulties until he was the recipient of a large sum of money from an inheritance. 'The unconscious fear of women goads some men with a compulsive urge to conquer, humiliate, hurt, or render powerless some available sample of womanhood.';

(Menninger, 183) Gumb was deeply disturbed and unable to overcome the death of his mother and he wanted to be like her and resented any woman because he feels that he should have been born a woman instead of the man that he is. He is sewing a skin of women to try to beco...


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.... The closing of the case did not come without suspense however. Through the entire book there was some sort of suspense weather it concerned Buffalo Bill, the actions of Hannibal Lecter, or the situation that Clarice Starling was in. The last seven chapters are the most suspenseful chapters of the story. They deal with the capture and killing of Jame Gumb, the rescuing of the prisoner that he held hostage and finally the freeing of Clarice Starling from the 'screaming of the lambs';.

Clarice starling murders Jame Gumb and his prisoner is set free with a few minor injuries. Clarice Starling finally finds peace within her and is able to enjoy life to the fullest and she owes it all the Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The location of Lecter is left unknown which leave the reader without a final closing further adding to the suspense of the novel. Novels in the genre of psychological horror are said to have the elements listed above. This essay has proven that the elements are indeed in the novel The Silence of the Lambs and therefore the novel is a psychological horror. The elements listed above are found through out the novel and are just a few of the many instances in which they occur.

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