Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 47: Mannequins, marionettes, and body parts


Shown at left is a marionette, which is a name for a puppet operated from above by strings.[a]

In this part of the analysis are listed the various posts (up to this point) in which body parts, mannequins, and marionettes have been discussed, and a brief summary of the applicable material appearing in those posts is given.

In part 12 of the analysis, it was described how the positioning of mannequins in the Jame Gumb 'dance' scene, suggests that Gumb believes he is getting closer to becoming a woman (note that in the screencap at left, taken from the dance scene, one of Gumb's mannequins is 'looking' at him, suggesting that Gumb believes he is getting closer to the point at which he can be 'seen' as a woman).

In part 18, a correspondence was drawn between the partially assembled mannequins in Jame Gumb's house (e.g., that as shown at below left), and the disassembled mannequins 'in' Clarice Starling's unconscious (physically speaking, inside Lecter's 'Your Self' storage unit, as shown at below right). The correspondence is that both Gumb and Starling are trying to become 'complete' women.

In part 20, it was noted that the wording of Book 13, chapter 28, in St. Augustine's Confession, is reminiscent of the fact that Gumb is making a (whole) suit of skin, from patches of skin from various parts of his female victims' bodies.

Marionettes (puppets operated from above by strings) began to be discussed in part 27 of the analysis, in which it was pointed out that Marcus Aurelius (Lecter: "Read Marcus Aurelius."), in his Confessions, distinguishes between substance (material) and cause.

In part 37 was examined the biblical book of 1 Corinthians, and one observation that was made was that in chapter 12 of this book, a correspondence is drawn between the Church and the parts of Jesus' body. The members of the (Catholic) Church with their various functions each comprise a necessary part of the body of Christ.

In part 39, philosopher and theologian Saint Augustine was quoted on the relationship between the senses, and the various sense organs.

In part 42, it was discussed how a portion of Aquinas's Compendium of Theology is suggestive of 'things and that which moves them', and therefore, of the idea of marionettes.

In part 43, an interpretation was given of the hidden 'interaction' via strings between Gumb and Catherine Martin. See the two screencaps (and their captions) below.

The two screencaps above are taken from two different points in the movie timeline. As explained in part 43, what's being indicated is that Gumb's manipulation of Catherine Martin via strings is 'hidden' from plain view. The fact that Catherine is being manipulated, and the 'strings' that are being used to exert this manipulation, are effectively 'invisible' - they are not readily apparent to us. In terms of the marionette metaphor, since Gumb represents Satan's pupil, the manipulating entity is Satan, and the 'entity' being manipulated is some (subset of) 'common man', as represented by Martin.

a. Image from the Wikipedia 'Marionette' page; Marionnette, by SoHome Jacaranda Lilau, Tamelifa Puppeters, Pierre S Frana Line, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Marcus Aurelius's Meditations (Long)
The Confessions of Saint Augustine (Outler)


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