— For Old Times Sake by Hannah, www.typhoidandswans.com
She’s welcomed by Margot Verger and they start a conversation about cars. Does that conversation strike you as odd or is Margot simply breaking the ice? Do you think she wants to find out more about Clarice by asking her about her car or she’s just interested in the subject?
This is the only interaction between these two characters in the book if I remember correctly. This seems strange, I’m don’t know why.
I’m not sure how much interest Margot has in finding out about Clarice. Her interest seems more reflexive than true. I get the impression that she has other things on her mind and little empathy to spare.
The Ancient of Days by Blake is placed in Mason Verger’s room and draped in black because of the death of his father. What do you think Thomas Harris is trying to convey with this?
Well, according to Wikipedia the picture is a depiction of Urizen, who in Blake’s mythology, “bears architect’s tools to create and constrain the universe; or nets, with which he ensnares people in webs of law and conventional society.”
Additionally, according to Wikipedia’s very convoluted explanation of Blake’s thought processes, Urizen’s “name can mean many things, from “Your Reason” or a Greek word meaning “to limit”.
So, I would hazard a guess that its shrouded condition reveals the antithesis of this - much like an upside down Tarot card reverses the meaning. Verger has been freed by the death of his father Now he finally has all the resources and the free will to act as he wishes openly; there is no one left who can restrain him.
Did Mason leave the room in complete darkness on purpose to cause a reaction when Clarice turned on the lights or it wasn’t planned? If you believe it was done on purpose, why would Mason do that?
Mason relies upon the manipulation of circumstances as much as his conditions allows, and I think the capability of exerting this power over anybody, but perhaps, especially, someone associated with Lecter, is thrilling to him.
Any guess about what goes on in Clarice’s mind when Mason tells her what Dr. Lecter suggested he could do with Mason’s own face?
I think she was disturbed, but how, exactly, Harris doesn’t tell us. After realizing what a monster Verger is, I felt a bit vengeful myself.
After her meeting with Mason Starling meets a woman who worked in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Toward the end of the interview Starling feels weary of “stylelessness” and also “hungry for some style”. Do you reconcile this Clarice with the Clarice Starling we know from Silence of the Lambs or is she changing?
Thomas Harris seems to embrace the idea of transformation in all the books of his tetrology. Whether that transformation will be destructive or cathartic in this case is yet to be seen. Generally, in the books these changes have been destructive, but I would not wish this on Clarice.
I can reconcile her character between the two books, and I think that recent events have left her at a loss. She may have been unhappy with her position, but she had a job and a moral purpose. She had not received the recognition she craved, but she was, I think, resigned to her fate as long as she was acting justly. However, now that she has glimpsed a future where she will be denied the right to do her job at all, I think the barrenness of her internal landscape has been thrown into stark relief.
Clarice has been strong and righteous, but she has not built up the inner resources to fulfill her other sensual needs (in this case I mean both physical and emotional needs). In this time of extreme stress, no matter how strong she is, she feels the lack of these resources more than ever. Strength of will keeps her going, but I think she is realizing that she needs other things to sustain herself.
Let’s hear the next question from Thomas Harris mouth:
"Did [Clarice] really think there might be files in the basement, or was she drawn back to the first place she ever saw Hannibal Lecter?”
What are your thoughts regarding Clarice’s descent into the basement, her recollections, her mementos (Sammie’s text), her impressions?
I think this passage offers several moments of deep insight into Clarice’s feelings regarding Lecter and how strongly her affects her. It has been obvious since the scene in her kitchen, that Lecter made a great impression on her and that she still thinks of him often, even seven years later. However, Harris leaves the reader uncertain about how Clarice views this lingering presence in her mind - is it positive or negative?
There is a certain ambivalence in her approach to Lecter and, interestingly, it is not colored by self-disgust. She does not blame herself for being affected by him, but she also does not romanticize this connection. She approaches it rationally because she is running out of choices: “She had exhausted the other possibilities first because she did not want to go in this place again.” She is literally at the end of her rope, and this is the only path forwards.
Is there the notion of a ‘fateful choice’ in this decision to go back to Baltimore? Maybe. I do think it is significant that in this new visit she enters the hospital from a new entrance. She is taking steps down a new path, not traveling over old pathways.
With reference to the question above “Did she really think there might be files in the basement, or was she drawn back to the first place she ever saw Hannibal Lecter?” I think, we again see Harris’s deliberate murkiness when it comes to her motivations. The answer is most likely “yes” to both questions. Her investigation has led her to this moment, but she has a desire to reconnect with him in some way. At such a tumultuous time, I think that the connection she has with him would be very compelling.
Interestingly, her thoughts of Lecter’s cell have little to do with Buffalo Bill or Lecter’s crimes. Indeed, her first observations at the sight of his cell are not related to the aggression or scorn he first expressed to her, rather, she notes the presence of the table where he read, and the shelves for his books. She grants him the unexpected boon of not remembering him only as a monster, but instead focuses on the associations that reveal his intellect and insight. In this moment, Clarice also remembers their meetings as “the most remarkable encounter[s] of her life.” and recalls “hear[ing] things so terribly true her heart resounded like a great deep bell.”
She wants to enter Lecter’s cell. Harris poses the concept of entry to the cell as a movement akin to self-destruction — the same disastrous impulse that is equal to “jump[ing] from balconies”. But she enters the cell anyway. Once within, she feels an empathic resonance with Dr Lecter - much like the first impressions of similarity she expressed in The Silence of the Lambs. The acknowledgment that she expects to “tingle” at this proximity to him reveals, perhaps, an awakened desire for that feeling. But what that ‘feeling’ signifies to her exactly remains unclear.
A couple of extras from this chapter:
1. In the corridor she avoids the puddles as she is “…ever mindful of her shoes.” Again, I think it is apparent that he has never left her mind.
2. “Towards the door we never opened; Into the rose garden.”
Quartet 1, “Burnt Norton” by T.S. Eliot
Sparknotes tells us: This quartet is the most explicitly concerned with time as an abstract principle. The first section combines a hypothesis on time—that the past and the future are always contained in the present.
[The garden is] A place of unattainable peace (and in this case insight) that is normally forbidden to mere mortals but that exists in memory and in literature as a standard to which everyday existence must be unfavorably compared. Yet the garden is also a part of the ruined estate from which this quartet takes its name; it bears the marks of human presence and abandonment—empty pools and formal hedges gone wild.
I always wanted to take a look at Clarice’s fondness for TS Eliot quotations and how they reflect her state of mind.
― John Milton, Paradise Lost
Otherwise known as literary classics before show-runners get ahold of them.
i hate the ending to the hannibal movie so much i don’t even have words like i haven’t even watched it in a bunch of years and i’m still angry about it to the point that i just randomly sit here grumbling under my breath about the audacity of sinking my canon ship fuck you clannibal is sacred
- LECTER: Clarice is amazing.
- LECTER: She really is. She has such potential. I'd like to eat some brain with her someday.
- LECTER: What if she isn't single?
- LECTER: What if she has a boyfriend?
- LECTER: What if she's dating Crawford?
- LECTER: How do I find out?
- LECTER: I could ask her
- LECTER: No, that's cheesy
- LECTER: I know what to do...
- LECTER: "Jack Crawford is helping your career, isn't he? Apparently he likes you and you like him too"
- LECTER: That should do it. I'm so clever.
- CLARICE: "Never thought about it."
- LECTER: Okay, so they're not dating. Good. But maybe he's in love with her. That would be bothersome.
- LECTER: Maybe she isn't attracted to him because he's too old.
- LECTER: What if she isn't attracted to ME because I'm too old?!
- LECTER: Ask her?
- LECTER: Nah.
- LECTER: "Do you think Jack Crawford wants you, sexually? True he is much older but do you think he visulizes scenarios, exchanges... fucking you?"
- LECTER: I'm so subtle.
- CLARICE: "That doesn't interest me, doctor, and frankly it's the sort of thing that Miggs would say."
- LECTER: She isn't lying. Thank goodness! I know how to reply to that...
- LECTER: "Not anymore."
- LECTER: There, we're off topic now. She'll never suspect a thing.
- CLARICE: *Looks slightly shocked*
- LECTER: Nailed it.
Anonymous said: in order of favorite to least favorite, list the hannibal books :)
Silence of the Lambs