Monday, September 14, 2009

Manhunter analysis - part 10: The contents of the tissue note

CATEGORY: MOVIES     [Hidden plot related]

When Dr. Chilton receives the tissue note found in Lecktor's cell, he phones Jack Crawford's office and is placed in a three-way call with Crawford and Graham. He then tells the two men about the note being found, and commences to read it over the phone. Let us examine the contents of the note closely, to see how it is used to manipulate Graham. It starts as follows: "My Dear Dr. Lecktor, I wanted to tell you I'm delighted that you've taken an interest in me." In hearing this, Graham's conscious mind is assuming it is the Tooth Fairy addressing Lecktor, but what is really going on in Will's unconscious mind is much different: Lecktor has written his part of the note to read as if Will has written it - in other words, this first sentence is to be understood by Will as, 'I, Will Graham, wanted to tell you [Dr. Lecktor] how delighted I am you've taken an interest in me.' Lecktor is using the entire note such that when it is read to Will, it psychologically manipulates Will such that he acquires the thoughts which are expressed in the note, as if he had written them. Continuing with the text of the note,

"I know that you alone can understand what I am becoming. You alone know the people I use to help me in these things are only elements undergoing change to fuel the radiance of what I am becoming, just as the source of light is burning." Here Lecktor is suggesting to Will that he (Will) is becoming something, i.e., a metaphorical source of light. The people Will is 'using' are to be understood as the people in his personal environment - his wife, Molly, his son, Kevin, Jack Crawford, and Dr. Sidney Bloom; these are the people around Will who he uses to manipulate his own state of mind, as if he is doing psychotherapy on himself. Will has an unconscious need to 'find himself' - to resolve the issue of whether or not he himself is a killer.

The next part of the note says, "I have a collection of your press clippings. I think they are absurd, as are mine. 'The Tooth Fairy' - what could be more inappropriate." Here, Lecktor is making another suggestion to Will that the thoughts in the note are his own - the name 'Tooth Fairy' is in fact inappropriate in Will's case, not only because he is not being called this by others, but because he is not gay. The note continues, "Investigator Graham interests me. Very purposeful-looking. I hope we can correspond." Lecktor is here suggesting to Will that he (Will) is a purposeful individual, a suggestion which is meant to encourage his being 'goal-oriented' - as we will see, the goal to be the murder of his own family. Following this there is a piece of the note missing (as described earlier, Lecktor has designed things such that this looks to be the case), and then the last part, written by Dollarhyde, reads, "After I hear back from you, I might send you something wet", and is signed "Avid Fan" and has teeth marks pressed in it at the bottom. No one except Lecktor himself consciously knows that the note Chilton is reading, was composed by more than one person.

Above left and right: Dr. Chilton reads the tissue note found in Lecktor's cell, to Graham and Crawford over the phone. Note that he is not touching the note, but is instead using a letter opener to move it around on his desktop. What we are looking at here is the top portion of the note, which was written by Lecktor himself. Left: The bottom portion of the note, authored by Dollarhyde, lies to the left of the top portion.


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