Friday, June 26, 2009

Silence of the Lambs analysis - part 61: The meaning of the suit of skin


From Confessions 13.15 (Outler translation):

"Now who but you, our god, made for us that firmament of the authority of your divine scripture to be over us? For 'the heaven shall be folded up like a scroll';[Isa. 34:4] but now it is stretched over us like a skin. Your divine scripture is of more sublime authority now that these mortal men through whom you dispensed it to us have departed this life. And you know, lord, you know how you clothed men with skins when they became mortal because of a sin.[Gen. 3:21] In something of the same way, you have stretched out the firmament of your book as a skin - that is to say, you have spread your harmonious words over us through the ministry of mortal men. For by their very death that solid firmament of authority in your sayings, spoken forth by them, stretches high over all that now drift under it; whereas while they lived on earth their authority was not so widely extended. Then you had not spread out the heaven like a skin; you had not yet spread abroad everywhere the fame of their death."

This passage reminds us of Gumb's (Satan's/Lecter's pupil) 'suit' of skin. The idea of Gumb's physical body being enclosed by a suit of skin assembled from patches obtained from his female victims, must therefore be an allegory for the construction of a firmament 'surrounding' Satan's pupil, i.e. an 'evil firmament', keeping in mind that in the passage from Augustine above, 'firmament' means scripture. Thus, the formation of the suit of skin represents the unfolding of Satan's (Lecter's/evil hermaphroditic Jews') evil word (i.e., scripture) over mankind. And, 'fame of their death' refers to the fact that the killings of the women have become widely known among the public largely due to Catherine Martin's mother, a U.S. Senator, appearing on national television to address her daughter's plight (specifically, to plead with Buffalo Bill so that he will not kill Catherine).

Above left: Jame Gumb, wearing his almost-completed suit of skin. Above right: Catherine Martin's mother, Senator Ruth Martin, pleads with Catherine's captor (Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill) on national TV, to be merciful with Catherine and to release her unharmed.

This completes the 'abstract' analysis phase 3, which consists of parts 51-61.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine (Outler)

[If you are only interested in viewing the explanation of the film's hidden plot, continue on to part 63 of the analysis. Otherwise, use the buttons below to navigate the analysis.]


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