unit 1 the slience lamb

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Please choose two of the following questions to answer for this unit by Wednesday at 11:59pm (CST). You should also respond to two of your classmates’ postings by Sunday at 11:59pm (CST).

Before answering this unit’s questions, you should view the film The Silence of the Lambs (1991) directed by Jonathan Demme. The film pits two very different serial killers against one another, with an FBI agent caught in the middle of their struggles for justice.

Keep in mind, as you view the film, a few of the questions posted below.


Full-bodied entries—of at least ten sentences of writing from you (in addition to quotations from the text)—are more likely to receive full credit. Lesser credit will be assigned to work that is missing, brief, or clearly disengaged or sloppily produced such that miscues interfere with readability.

Your responses to other students’ work are also assessed. Students often resist commenting on each others’ work in substantial ways; instead choosing to post simply “good job” or “looks okay to me.” This kind of peer response doesn’t help your own—or your peers’—development as a writer and thinker.

Acceptable peer responses will, among other things:

  • Explicitly identify what was learned from someone else’s work.
  • Ask a follow-up question.
  • Offer an alternative interpretation.
  • Offer concrete strategies for improvement.

Questions (Film)

Choose two questions to answer:

  1. How does the film ask us to demonize Buffalo Bill as a villain, but redeem Hannibal Lecter? Or vice-versa? Support yourself with evidence from your viewing of the film. Be as specific as possible.
  2. Many of Hannibal Lecter’s lines within the film have become famous in popular culture, even for those that have not seen the film. How does the humor associated with Lecter differ from the way that Buffalo Bill is treated in the film?
  3. The violent murders within the film are showcased and presented in strikingly different ways. Clarify and analyze the way that Jonathan Demme, the director of the film, depicts the kills from each of the serial killers.
  4. Does this film argue or condone a particular type of violence, in order to apprehend one serial killer? Theorize a few ideas about why we, as an audience need closure in the Buffalo Bill case, but find no need to resolve Hannibal Lecter’s escape?
  5. Why does the film utilize Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as its protagonist or hero? Does the film present gender here as an opportunity for viewers to see Hannibal Lecter as a savior character? How would the film have differed in form and content if the FBI protagonist was male? Show evidence from the film to support your claims.
  6. The film has a certain argument about “rudeness” as a reason for murder. How does Hannibal Lecter define rudeness–and why does it help justify his murders to a popular culture audience that might be unwilling to analyze this concept further? In the context of the film, is Buffalo Bill a rude character? Why or why not?

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