The Silence of the LambsI’m writing a book report on The Silence of the Lambs. The book is written by Thomas Harris and was released in 1988. It’s the second book in Harris’ series of novels about the fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.
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The books in this series are all connected to each other and follow a chronological order, but can still be read separately. authorThomas Harris is an American author who’s behind the Lecter book series. He was born in Tennessee in 1940, making him currently 77 years old. Harris has written a total of five books, whereas four of these are a part of the Lecter series. All his books are written around crime and horror. As well as the books have been well-received by critics, have they all been adapted into successful films.
The Silence of the Lambs, both the novel and the film, has received the biggest amount of success. The novel has won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel in 1988, and the Anthony Award for Best Novel in 1989. The film adaptation won a total of five awards at the 1991 Academy Awards. The novel was also been turned into a musical in 2005, called Silence! The Musical, where the story was parodied.
The musical won three awards at the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards. SummaryThe book follows a normal chronological order, beginning with Clarice entering Jack Crawford’s office after a P. E. class.
The book is centred around Clarice Starling, a gifted trainee at the FBI Academy. Jack Crawford offers Clarice a job where she must interview the incarcerated serial killer Dr Lecter. What Clarice doesn’t know is that this interview is a part of a much bigger investigation and she will soon be a part of the hunt for serial killer Buffalo Bill. Lecter is no easy guy, and will only give clues in trade for information about Clarice’s personal and troublesome childhood. Meanwhile, Clarice and Jack Crawford are trying to trace Buffalo Bill, the daughter of the one of the state’s senators, Catherine, is kidnapped by what seems to be Buffalo Bill. Clarice and Jack’s time is running short. Buffalo Bill’s victims usually get killed within three days of captivity.
Dr Lecter is offered a deal; if he gives FBI all the information Lecter has on Buffalo Bill he will be moved to a different location with privileges and more freedom. Although sceptical, Lecter accepts the offer. He lies to them about Buffalo Bill’s real name, but gives a truthful description of his physique. Lecter is transferred to the new location as promised, and Clarice goes on to finally track Buffalo Bill down. Clarice manages to singlehandedly kill Buffalo Bill and releases Catherine unharmed. Meanwhile, Lecter manages to escape from his new cell, kills two policemen, and vanishes. The book ends with Lecter writing a letter to Clarice where he asks her if the lambs have stopped screaming, and he assures her that they will haunt her for the rest of her life. In the very last paragraph, Clarice is sleeping peacefully and undisturbed, with no lambs screaming.
CharactersClarice is the main character of the book. She is a talented trainee at the FBI Academy. Clarice is intelligent, determined, and one of the best students at the Academy. She receives what seems like a simple assignment from her mentor Jack Crawford. She is assigned to interview Hannibal Lecter. Lecter seems to develop a sweet spot for Clarice, and he gradually gives her clues about Buffalo Bill in return for information Clarice’s childhood traumas.
She quickly becomes involved in the Buffalo Bill investigation because of how cooperative Lecter is with her. In the book, you don’t meet any other women with an occupation within law enforcement, and Clarice struggling to be treated with respect is a common occurrence. Since Buffalo Bill’s victims are only women, Clarice is particularly helpful, as she can relate more to the victims and help with finding patterns in Buffalo Bill’s killings. In the end of the book, she manages to singlehandedly kill Buffalo Bill and gets employed as a FBI agent as a reward. Jack Crawford is the head agent at the FBI Behavioural Science Unit. He has been a big part of many serial killer investigations and has earned much credit and respect from the people around him.
Jack is very professional and is the only one who gives proper respect to Clarice. Hannibal Lecter is a cannibalistic serial killer. He’s incarcerated at an institution at the Baltimore State Hospital for the criminally insane.
Prior to his imprisonment, he worked as a psychiatrist. He’s described as an intelligent and sophisticated sociopath. Lecter has a passion for art and cuisine and is culturally-educated. Lecter is involved in this investigation because it’s speculated that he might have information about the antagonist, Buffalo Bill. It’s later revealed that Buffalo Bill had been a patient of Lecter during his working days. Buffalo Bill is the character the book’s main antagonist. Buffalo Bill’s actual name is Jame Gumb.
His mother was a model, who tried to pursue acting, but when she failed she became an alcoholic sex worker. Jame was put in to foster care at an early age. It’s said in the book that Jame wasn’t born a psychopath, but made one through years of systematic abuse. He later moved in with his grandparents, whom he killed at an age of 10. His 3rd victim was his lover, Benjamin Raspail. Gumb believes himself to be a transgender, but is not considered qualified for a surgical gender transition. To achieve his goal to become a woman, he starts killing and skinning women to create a woman suit.
Both the book and the film has received a lot of controversy and criticism for its representation of transgender people. In the book, it is made clear that Buffalo Bill only believes he’s a transgender. Jame takes on any identity or personality to cover up his lack of self. His goal isn’t to become a woman, but to become a specific woman; his mother who died when Buffalo Bill was a little boy. His mother was a beautiful model who had won several beauty pageants, and Buffalo Bill wanted to become as beautiful as her.
Catherine Martin is Buffalo Bill’s last victim, who is saved by Clarice at the end of the book. She’s the daughter of Senator Ruth Martin. GenreThe genre of the book is a psychological horror.
The books antagonists are Lecter and Buffalo Bill, which are both mentally unstable, disturbing serial killers. The book frightens you by using mental, emotional, and psychological states, which has an unsettling and disturbing effect on the reader. Clarice sharing her deepest secrets to Lecter makes her vulnerable and insecure. Lecter doesn’t give his information easily, and often delivers them to Clarice in codes that she need to interpret which creates a lot of self-doubt in Clarice. He also plays a lot of mind games with everyone to entertain himself. Clarice is only a student with no actual experience in the FBI, and a lot of people around her also doubts her abilities to work on this serious case.
Also, her being a woman makes it harder for Clarice to be respected, as the law enforcement back then was heavily male-dominated, giving an underlying sense of feminism to the book. Book titleMost of the personal information Clarice gives Lecter is regarding her tough upbringing. To summarize her childhood, her father died when she was young, and she was sent to live on a farm with her uncle and aunt. Her uncle slaughtered animals on this farm. The way Clarice found out about this was traumatic for her.
She had woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of lambs screaming. She got terrified and ran away with one of the horses from the farm. She tells Lecter that still to this day she wakes up to lambs screaming. In the end of the book, when Lecter is free and Clarice has killed Buffalo Bill, Clarice receives a letter from Lecter, where it reads: “ I hope the lambs have stopped screaming”, which they had. Therefore, the book is called “ The Silence of the Lambs”. Timeframe, how do you knowThe year the book is set in is hard to tell, but there are a few clues hinting to the 80’s. When the senator’s daughter is kidnapped, it’s mentioned that the 80’s are the golden age of terrorism. It’s also brought up that Lecter attacked a nurse at the institution in 1976, which is portrayed as something that happened a while ago.
The technology is also a good indicator. How much time elapses throughout the book is almost impossible to know, with no indications pointing to any dates. The only display of any passing of time is when Catherine gets kidnapped they estimate that she’ll be killed within three days.
Clarice manages to save her on the third day of captivity. So, if I was to make a wage suggestion, I’d say two weeks go by throughout the book. SettingLecter’s cell at the Baltimore institution is one of the major, more reoccurring settings in the book. As mentioned before, he is serving a life sentence in prison at an institution for the criminally insane. This is where Clarice meets Lecter for the first time.
Lecter has of course very restricted freedom and is locked up in a special cell. He has no windows and little to entertain himself with, so he has drawn and painted several pieces of art that he keeps on his walls. Later in the book, Lecter is offered to be moved to a new place where he will receive more freedom.
This new cell is in an old building, where he has the freedom to read, listen to music, and receives gourmet meals. Obviously, with more freedom, there is a greater possibility of escaping, which is what Lecter manages to do near the end of the book. Buffalo Bill lives in an old, messy house that he moved into after the prior owner dying. He keeps his victims and his equipment for making the bodysuit in the basement.
In the basement, there’s a deep well where the victim is kept in complete darkness and starved until they’re killed. My opinion and summaryI had already watched the film before I read the book, which was both an advantage and a disadvantage. During the entirety of the book, I always knew what would happen next, so most of the plot twist and suspenseful moments got ruined.
Nothing came as a surprise. The advantage was that I got a deeper insight of the book and the story. I already knew what was going to happen, so it was easier to spot details. The book differs the film in that the book goes really into detail with the investigation, a lot of focus is centred around the investigation, and a lot of professional terms are constantly being thrown around. There was a lot of back-and-forth between Clarice and the other investigators that didn’t add much to the conflict or suspense.
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The endless conversations were dulling and redundant. I don’t understand terminology within the law enforcement-field, all these words and terms sound the same for me, and they all just blend in. In the book, you get a better insight into both Clarice and Buffalo Bill’s minds, which I enjoyed. You gain an understanding of Buffalo Bill’s twisted thoughts, how he perceives his victims as objects rather than people. You get to know Clarice’s self-conscious thoughts and doubts, and the way she tries to empathize with the victims and try to figure out Buffalos Bill’s way of thinking. The highpoint of the book, in my opinion, is when Lecter escapes. His genius way of escaping was both chilling and captivating. Although I knew he would eventually manage to escape, it was still shocking and unexpected.
After the act of escaping, it’s shown what he does while being on the run, which is something that isn’t shown in the film. I also really enjoyed all the conversations between Clarice and Lecter. It relieved me from all the investigation-talk. Throughout the book, I found myself constantly fascinated by Lecter.
He is horrific and manipulative, but also very charming and witty. While he’s talking to Clarice, you forget what horrible monster he is. He is always so calm, smart, and normal. I think the reason he is so captivating is because he represents something terrifying; an evil villain with the surface of a normal, intellectual, and trustworthy person. The book was fine, but it did not live up to my expectations considering it’s fame and praise. You might enjoy the book if you’re able to go through the pages of talk between the investigators, maybe that you enjoy that aspect of a crime.
It’s still very entertaining and engaging, filled with creepy, frightening moments. Lecter is a character that will entertain and fascinate you no matter what. Sourceshttps://no. wikipedia. org/wiki/Nattsvermeren_(film)https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Silence_of_the_Lambs_(novel)https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Thomas_Harrishttps://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Clarice_Starlinghttps://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Hannibal_Lecterhttps://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Jack_Crawford_(character)https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Buffalo_Bill_(character)https://www. psychologytoday. com/blog/wicked-deeds/201603/our-enduring-love-affair-dr-hannibal-lecter