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Red Dragon

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Red Dragon by Thomas Harris: A Look Inside The Serial Killer’s Mind Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is a dark piece of psychological fiction that was published in 1981. The novel is the first in a trilogy featuring the infamous character Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and psychopathic serial killer. However, Lecter is not a main character in this novel. Rather, the antagonist and killer is Francis Dolarhyde, whom the police jokingly refer to as the Tooth Fairy because of the bite marks he leaves on female victims. Harris does a masterful job of creating background on the killer that delves into the makings of a serial killer. Thomas Harris gives the reader an understanding of Dolarhyde’s mindset when committing his horrific crimes by detailing the abuses the killer suffered as a child (Sexton). Harris takes the reader from the infant born with a cleft palate so disfiguring he was left to die through the cruelty of a childhood that included abandonment, a mean and mentally unstable grandmother, and taunts from his stepsiblings. In doing so, the author provides significance to some of the killer’s actions (Cowley). This research paper will examine the underlying psychopathology of serial killers that often stems from abuse in childhood, turning the human into the monster. Red Dragon begins with the FBI and the police on a desperate hunt for a serial killer whom police have nicknamed the Tooth Fairy because of bite marks left on victims. The public is duly alarmed as the target of the killer is entire families. Members of the FBI know that they must quickly apprehend the criminal not only due to the public outcry and fear but also because time is against them. The killer strikes on lunar moons and the authorities have only about three weeks before his next crime. Jack Crawford, the special agent assigned to the case, seeks the help of Will Graham, a gifted FBI profiler. Graham has retired with a new life in Florida after

his capture of Hannibal Lecter. The retired agent left the FBI after that case, barely escaping with his life and questioning the effects of such cases on his mental stability. Graham does not want to reenter this world but does so after much persuasion. Will Graham spends time at the home of the victims to gain insight on the killer. The pursuer’s ability to understand a killer’s mind is evident, a thought that actually unsettles Graham. Despite his ability on these cases, Graham comes away with little new information. Dr. Bloom, the psychiatrist on the case, tells Graham that he believes the killer is disfigured because he breaks the mirrors in his victims’ homes. The doctor also believes that the killer had a horrific childhood based on the bite marks all over the mothers. When a cleaning man finds in Hannibal Lecter’s cell a note from the Tooth Fairy, Graham decides that once again he must unfortunately face Lecter in order to seek his help on finding the killer. Lecter works against the FBI, encouraging the Tooth Fairy to act on his urges and giving him Graham’s home address. The Tooth Fairy is a man by the name of Francis Dolarhyde. He was born with a cleft palate and abandoned at birth. His grandmother, who was mentally unstable, raised him. Unfortunately, her instability increased with age. Dr. Bloom was correct in his deduction that Dolarhyde’s childhood was one of neglect and abuse. Dolarhyde chooses his victims from the reels of movie films he develops at the photographic studio where he works. Through these videos, Dolarhyde knows the exact layout of the victims’ homes. The killings are inspired by Dolarhyde’s obsession over the dragon in the William Blake painting, “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun.” In his delusion, the Tooth Fairy believes he is “becoming” the Red Dragon in all its glory by giving into his urges to kill.

In his pursuit of the Tooth Fairy, Will Graham has to deal with a relentless and annoying reporter, Freddy Lounds. The FBI uses Lounds to try to catch the killer. Graham tells the reporter that Dolarhyde is an impotent homosexual, knowing that Lounds will print the information. The plan is to enrage the Tooth Fairy, smoke him out, and capture him. It backfires when Dolarhyde gets an early printing of the paper and then kidnaps Lounds before the FBI can get there. The Tooth Fairy kills him by setting him on fire after cutting out his tongue. Francis Dolarhyde starts to have feelings for a young blind coworker by the name of Reba McClane. Her interest in him and kindness causes the killer to have conflicted feelings about his actions. The Dragon, in turn, becomes upset about that Dolarhyde cares for Reba and punishes him the same way his grandmother did. The voice of the Dragon, once it is heard, is that of his grandmother’s. As his feelings grow for Reba, Dolarhyde tries to stop the Dragon’s control of him by going to the Brooklyn Museum and actually eating the Red Dragon painting. The Tooth Fairy becomes scared for Reba, knowing that the Dragon will do horrible things and ultimately kill her. Dolarhyde finds Will Graham at his employment and realizes the FBI is closing in on him. The killer goes to say goodbye to Reba but is furious when he finds her speaking to another male employee. In his anger, he kills the man and kidnaps Reba taking her to his home. Unable to bring himself to kill her, the Tooth Fairy allows Reba to escape after he sets the place on fire and seemingly shoots himself. However, Francis actually escapes also leaving behind the body of a gas station attendant that he had previously murdered. Dolarhyde then proceeds to attack Graham at his home in Florida stabbing him in the face. The serial killer is fatally shot by Graham’s wife.

Thomas Harris wrote Red Dragon in 1981. It was the first in a trilogy that includes the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The author was born in Jackson Tennessee on April 11, 1940. Not much is known about his early years; however, not much is known about him altogether as he tends to be an enigma like his killers (Streibling). The author does not like to give interviews or conduct book tours. Despite this, Harris is still famous because of his characters such as Hannibal Lecter who has become iconic. When discussing Lecter, Harris speaks of him as a separate entity and a friend. He is cautious with him though, calling Lecter the wickedest man he has ever known (Sexton). One British critic calls Harris one of the “great melodramatists,” putting him in the same category with Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe (Thompson). While little is known of his youth, his mother has indicated that he was a prolific reader who preferred reading to sports. Harris’s father was an electrical engineer for the Tennessee Valley Authority and his mother was a high school teacher. Early on, the family moved to a farm in Mississippi (Thompson). In his article, “Creator of a Monstrous Hit,” Jason Crowley characterizes the young boy as being “withdrawn and isolated.” After high school, the author attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas majoring in English. He wrote for the university newspaper covering police work. A fellow student who worked on the paper with him said it was evident that Harris would become an author. The author was noted for his fascination “with gathering facts, information, and angles” (Thompson). Thomas Harris married a fellow student in college. The marriage did not last and they were divorced in the 1960’s (Thompson). After graduation in 1964, Harris worked for the Associated Press (AP) until 1974. He was assigned as a crime reporter and took great interest in learning about police procedure and handling of homicides (Crowley). During this time, he wrote short stories for men’s and adventure magazines (Thompson). His first novel entitled Black

Sunday was written in 1975. It was the story of plot by terrorists to bomb people attending the Super Bowl using the Goodyear Blimp (Streibling). The book became a success once Hollywood bought the rights (Thompson). After the book, Harris became a full time writer of fiction. Many writers publish a book every year but that is not the case with Harris. The author spends a long time researching the material for his books (Thompson). In addition, the words of his novels do not come easy to Harris. Stephen King has stated that Harris finds writing, “a kind of torment,” describing the author as “writhing on the floor in agonies of frustration” (Crowley). This slow style of writing is evident in the publication date of Red Dragon, a full six years after his previous one (Streibling). As with his first novel, Red Dragon became a bestseller. It was turned into a movie called Manhunter. Harris’s next novel, The Silence of the Lambs, was also his most celebrated. It took him seven years to write and was published in 1988. The book became a phenomenally successful film winning Academy Awards including best picture, best actor, and best actress (Streibling). Hannibal which picks up seven years later from The Silence of the Lambs was published in 1999. To provide an account of how the character Hannibal Lecter came to be a serial killer and cannibal, Harris published Hannibal Rising in 2006 (Blades). Harris is so well regarded as a writer that there is little editing of his manuscripts according to his agent, Mort Janklow (Crowley). Today Thomas Harris lives in south Florida with his partner and travels as often as possible. He continues to be a recluse. According to the publicity director for his publisher St. Martin’s Press, Harris gives all of himself to his books and wants the characters to speak for themselves (Thompson). One theme of Red Dragon is that childhoods have powerful impacts on individuals and the Tooth Fairy was partially a product of his upbringing (Lehmann-Haupt). FBI profilers have

found that the serial killers have a history of difficult personal relationships. Almost all of them are male. Some may be too shy while others have no loving figures in their lives. Most have been harmed emotionally and physically by their parents or have been abandoned. In their childhood they never learned right from wrong from their guardians. The killers commit their crimes in order to obtain power and excitement from overpowering another human (“Serial Killers”). Francis Dolarhyde’s life fits the general description of the serial killer. While the grandmother’s mental illness provides evidence of a biological factor, Harris makes the case that extreme cruelty in childhood often is a factor behind the horrific crimes of the serial killer. Francis Dolarhyde is similar to other serial killers as he is an outcast who never felt love and acceptance as a child. He seeks a sense of power, a feeling he has never had. The idea of becoming the Red Dragon gives him that power and allows him to act on his violent urges. Dolarhyde was born with a cleft palate with the obstetrician commenting that his appearance was “more like a leaf-nosed bat than a baby” (Harris 244). His mother abandons him and the infant is sent to an orphanage. The grandmother does take him in once she learns of him but it is only to get back at her daughter. The one word the grandmother immediately teaches him is mother. The motive is to embarrass her daughter and son-in-law by parading the deformed boy with the speech impediment at all the political events. To her delight, her son-in-law loses his election. While the election result brings her great joy, it is at the future expense of Francis who will suffer from the taunts of Mr. Vogt’s children. The grandmother becomes increasingly unstable threatening the young child with mutilation for wetting the bed. His only source of comfort is Queen Mother but after Francis believes she has betrayed him, he sees her as another one who has mocked him. In his essay on the Hannibal Lecter figure, Daniel Shaw describes Dolarhyde’s murders as a “twisted expression of his need to be loved and accepted” (Shaw).

The backstory on the Tooth Fairy provides the logic behind the killer’s actions. Dr. Bloom is correct in his assumption that Dolarhyde breaks all the mirrors in the house because he cannot stand the sight of himself. Mirrors are placed in the eyes of his victims so he can see himself triumphant in their eyes (Crowley). When his mother comes to the grandmother’s home, the boy sees that the grandmother bites her. This action will be repeated by the killer on his female victims. The killer professes a strong love for his grandmother, but he mutilates the mother figures he kills. Entire families who have shared a love he never experienced are brutally slaughtered. On his chest is tattooed the William Blake painting The Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Defenseless as a child, Dolarhyde aspires to gain the Dragon’s power by killing victims chosen from the home movies he develops (Sexton). Through the author’s description of Dolarhyde’s troubling childhood, the reader becomes empathetic of Francis especially when he develops feelings for a blind coworker. His psyche splits into Francis and the Red Dragon who fight against each other over Reba, one to save her life and the other to sacrifice it. The struggle is so difficult that the speech impediment returns to Dolarhyde (Crowley). He finally hears the voice of the Dragon and it is that of his grandmother. Reba’s love is not enough to heal him although he does allow her to escape. Certainly, the biological element is evident as his grandmother was mentally unstable all her life. But, through his research the author has learned that childhood abuse is common among serial killers (Sexton). Harris draws the Tooth Fairy as a complex character, both loathsome and somewhat sympathetic given his childhood. Critics of Red Dragon give the novel uniformly good reviews. Daniel Shaw in The Mastery of Hannibal Lecter calls Red Dragon “the best novel of the trilogy” (4). Shaw describes Francis Dolarhyde as “far more threatening, powerful, and sympathetic,” than any of Harris’s

other serial killers (4). He finds that Harris also does an exceptional job with the character Will Graham. The reader is engrossed as Graham allows his mind to become the killer. He enters the crime site speaking in third person, slowly moves to second person, and chillingly starts to use the words I and mine (Shaw 3). Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of The New York Times agrees with Shaw’s assessment of the Tooth Fairy character. The reviewer writes that Dolarhyde exceeds the evilness and mental instability of Hannibal Lecter. Lehmann-Haupt finds that Harris is masterful in creating the build-up of the story. By providing the background story of the Tooth Fairy, Harris creates a multi-dimensional character which allows for an unexpected ending. The book hits the reader in the gut, connecting to the part of us that incensed by the killer’s actions, “would like to get rid of evil with a gun” (Lehmann-Haupt). At the time the book was published, Americans were reeling from a number of serial killer cases. David Berkowitz, also known as “Son of Sam,” had been captured some years earlier. His killings had terrified New York City. Ted Bundy had confessed to killing over 30 people including a 12 year old girl. Theodore Kaczynski, known as “the Unabomber,” was in the midst of sending mail bombs. Jeffrey Dahmer was on the loose eluding capture as men and boys were being systematically killed. These cases terrified the public and also highlighted the work of FBI profilers who hunted them down (“Recent Serial Killers”). Red Dragon has particular relevance to Homer’s The Odyssey and Dante’s Purgatorio. In The Odyssey, Dante presents women who have great power and influence unlike the reality of ancient Greece. (Homer). These traits of strength and power are apparent in the female characters in Red Dragon. However, the characters are not the same in terms of virtue. Athena’s presence, like the grandmother’s, demands obedience and she controls the outcome of a situation. But while Athena is a force for good in Odysseus’s life, Francis Dolarhyde’s

grandmother causes him irreparable harm. Dolarhyde does have Queen Mother and Reba who somewhat counteract the grandmother’s evil. But they unfortunately lose their influence once the young boy feels betrayed by them. The central force in his life remains his grandmother, a female as strong as Athena but regrettably with none of the virtue of the goddess. Another literary piece that is relevant to the book is Dante’s Purgatorio. In this work, Virgil explains that love is at the center of good and evil. Love, according to the poet, is the motive behind all actions. It is “that seed within yourselves of very virtue, and every act that merits punishment” (Dante, Canto XVII, L103-105). Yet, while it makes sense for the individuals Dante encounters on his journey through purgatory, it appears Dante could not conceive of an evil like Francis Dolarhyde. The serial killer did not murder because of the sins of loving too little, the sins of loving too much, or the sins of loving the wrong things an absence of love. He murdered because as a child, he never sensed the feel of love or learned how to love. His evil stems from an absence of love. Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon is a disturbing, scary, and suspenseful novel that takes the reader into the mind of a serial killer. Harris draws from his lengthy research to create the frightening character of Francis Dolarhyde. Despite his horrific murders, Dolarhyde comes across as strangely sympathetic due to the emotional abuse he suffered in his life. One of the scariest thoughts when reading the book is that none of us can fully protect ourselves from a mind so evil. Serial killers do not wear on sign on their forehead. Actually like Ted Bundy, they usually look harmless and seem affable. But, in a way, we do have power. We have the power to help uplift and form the emotional stability of the people we meet. Serial killers may be immune to our kindness, but that virtue remains a potent tool in society. It can lessen the anger and hostility that simmers inside people. Humans tend to respond in kind to the way they have

been treated. Many of the shootings at schools were by students who felt the sting of mockery and the pain of alienation by fellow classmates. Other students have been driven to suicide by Facebook entries or personal attacks. The novel reinforces the idea that each on us needs to realize the ramification of our words and our actions. We have the power to help stop the violence.

Works Cited Blades, Bobby. Hannibal Rising. Elbo Computing Resources, Inc. 2006. 3 April 2011. . Cowley, Jason. "Creator of a monstrous hit." Observer 19 Nov 2006: n. pag. Web. 27 Mar 2011. . Dante. The Divine Comedy. Trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2008. Harris, Thomas. Red Dragon. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2009. Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1998. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. Books of the Times: Red Dragon. The New York Times. 10 Nov. 1981. 3 Apr 2011. . Recent Serial Killers 1970 to present (AP list). Free Republic. 11 Oct 2002. 3 Apr 2011 . Serial Killers. Into the Abyss. 2010. 3 Apr 2011. . Sexton, David. "Mr Harris's cookbooks." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 18 Aug 2001. Web. 27 Mar 2011. . Shaw, Daniel. "The Mastery of Hannibal Lecter." Google Books. Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2003. Web. 03 Apr. 2011. . Streibling, William. "Thomas Harris." The Mississippi Writer's Page. University of Mississippi, May 2001. Web. 27 Mar 2011. .

Thompson, Clifford. Current Biography Yearbook 1999. “Thomas Harris.” New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2000. .…...

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...book I am writing my report on is the Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson. I picked this book because it looks interesting and it’s an adventure book. I love reading adventure books because it feels like I am a part of the adventure. Also the book takes place in China, I like reading books about my culture. This book takes place in a far Western mountain called Huangling Mountain on the edge of the Han Empire in ancient China. A young slave girl with no name lives in one of the Emperor’s palace, looking after the animals and her cruel master. Her parents sold her to Master Lan, an imperial dragon keeper, at a young age. Along the way, the nameless girl found a mouse that she kept for a pet to keep her company. She named the moose Hua. At first Master Lan would do all the work that he was assigned to do, but after a while he started to complain that he is getting older and made the nameless girl do all the work like cooking, feeding the animals including the dragons and etc. The slave was afraid to take care of Master Lan two dragons that lives in a pit, but she puts aside her fears and feeds the dragon every day. But one day the one of the dragons die. The girl felt guilty because the day she had eaten a bowl a fresh food it was meant for the dragons. She made sure to keep the other dragon alive. The girl was afraid when Master Lan decides to get rid of the dead dragon by pickling it. She knows that if you pickling the imperial dragon would mean death if the absent......

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Dragon

...Dragon Name Dragon The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin draconem (nominative draco) meaning "huge serpent, dragon", from the Greek word δράκων, drakon (genitive drakontos, δράκοντος) "serpent, giant seafish". The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological, and this usage was also current in English up to the 18th century. Morphology A dragon is a mythological representation of a reptile. In antiquity, dragons were mostly envisaged as serpents, but since the Middle Ages, it has become common to depict them with legs, resembling a lizard. Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. The European dragon has bat-like wings growing from its back. A dragon-like creature with wings but only a single pair of legs is known as a wyvern. Comparative mythology Further information: Chaoskampf, Sea serpent, Proto-Indo-European religion § Dragon or Serpent and Serpent (Bible) The association of the serpent with a monstrous opponent overcome by a heroic deity has its roots in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, including Canaanite (Hebrew, Ugaritic), Hittite and Mesopotamian. Humbaba, the fire-breathing dragon-fanged beast first described in the Epic of Gilgamesh is sometimes described as a dragon with Gilgamesh playing the part of...

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Dragon Mart

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Dragon-I

...Company Background HISTORY DRAGON-I Restaurant Sdn Bhd is a Chinese cuisine restaurant which was established in 2004 by the founder of DRAGON-I, Henry Yip Chun Hoong . DRAGON-I restaurant is inspired by the rich and various culinary which are from China, particularly from the district of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanchou. All delicacies are prepared by the great chefs with a professional skilled from mainland China. Besides, the ingredients of delicacies prepared by DRAGON-I is using top quality ingredients in order to ensure the purity in both presentation also taste. The name of restaurant in Chinese is “Long Ti Chuan Ren” which is derived from a combination of phonic and facts. In history, the Chinese believe that they are the posterity of the dragon (Long), the name of the restaurant is same with the pronounced. But actually the strokes for the character “Long” also represent one of the signature delicacy of DRAGON-I restaurant, which is Xiao “Long” Bao. The first DRAGON-I outlet was opened and located at Kuala Lumpur, Mid Valley Megamall. Within a few years, DRAGON-I group has grown to include 16 outlets in Malaysia and Singapore. Since 2004, DRAGON-I restaurant has became such an excellent standard that had attracted many of gastronome come from a long way just want to try the delicacy of DRAGON-I restaurant especially “Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumpling” and “Hand-pulled Noodles”. In addition, there have 5 CANTON-I outlets among the 16 outlets in Malaysia,......

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Dragons

...Dragon Day is an annual event that occurs every year on the Friday before spring break at Cornell University. The center of the event is the procession of a dragon, created by first-year architecture students at the Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. The construction is funded by selling Dragon Day t-shirts. The first event was in 1901. Believing that there should be a "College of Architecture Day," student Willard Straight of the class of 1901 led a group of architecture students around campus carrying a model dragon. This was partly inspired by the legend of St. Patrick's driving all the snakes and serpents from Ireland. Lincoln Hall, which housed the College of Architecture at the time, was decorated with orange and green banners, shamrocks, and themed decorations. In the 1950s, the event evolved into its current form, with an actual constructed dragon. It is unknown when the term "Dragon Day" was coined, but it likely came into use in the 1950s. Since then, the holiday has turned into a parade for the dragon. Although it is typically carried from beneath by architecture students, in 1964 and 1976 the dragon was mounted on a car and driven through the route.[citation needed] In 1985, the dragon fell over as it rounded Sibley Hall, and was not able to complete its route. In 2009, due to new New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations[1] , the dragon was not burned at the end of the parade route; the dragon's "nest" was......

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Dragon

...30 January 2012 Asian Dragons Vs European Dragons Whether you live in Vietnam, China, Japan, Scotland, USA or anywhere in the world, you have probably heard of the dragons-the animal of imagination of human. A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Asian dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries. Since I was a kid, dragons have always been a mystery and an attraction for me .I have spent a lot of time to study about them and found out that there are three general differences between the dragon from the east and the west which are appearance, symbolism and what they mean to society . First of all, the easily identifiable difference between an Asian dragon and a European one is the appearance. Asian dragons resemble large snakes. They look like a combination of many animals such as snakes and eagles, and had no wings. For Chinese, each one of its four short legs had five toes while a Japanese dragon has three and a Korean one has four. Even though depicted without wings the Asian dragon is believed to fly. They are often in red and gold. Unlike the Asian, the European typically depicted their dragons as a huge fire-breathing scaly and horned dinosaur-like creature with bat-type......

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