The third section from the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, is yet again 113 pages in length and covers the part of the story up to page 339. The summary for chapters 23 to 34 is as follows. This part of the novel was a slow read from the beginning to the end. I like to think of it like purgatory. Not quite there yet, but waiting for something good to happen. Chapter 23 starts and ends completely regarding the aftermath of Freddie Lounds being burnt and left for death by the serial killer Red Dragon.
In the final statements of my previous summary I had concluded that Freddie had died. However I was wrong. It turned out the ambulance reached him in just enough time to take him to the emergency room for aid. FBI Special Agent Will Graham and Bureau Chief Jack Crawford went to visit him upon hearing the bad news. Freddie had inhaled parts of the flame while he was lit on fire. His mouth and throat were badly burned. If he were to live, he was in for a long path of pain and he may never even be able to speak again.
However, within the three days of being moved from the burn unit to the regular hospital floor. Freddie had past. Will and Jack had been informed that Freddie spoke some words to the press that hadn’t been released yet on television or in article. What he told them briefly while being rushed from the ambulance van to the hospital doors was the license plate number he had been able to see right before being engulfed with the flames. Captain Osbourne of Chicago Homicide ran the plate through the Department of Motor Vehicles and came back with the number off an old stolen TV truck.
Will knew in the back of his head the killer must have been driving a van though in order to carry around Lounds in a wheelchair. Perhaps a vital clue to the investigation as we end the chapter. The next chapter shifts scenarios as we, the readers, are back in Baltimore at the Forensic Hospital for the criminally insane. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is being punished for giving out Will’s home address, in the previous section to the murderer. Dr. Frederick Chilton, Chief of Staff there, had his orderlies take out all of Lecter’s book’s from his case in the cell, and remove Hannibal’s toilet seat as well.
Brian Zeller, Section Chief of the evidence department back at Quantico, has made a stellar discovery towards the case. The type of gas used on the body of Freddie Lounds was Unleaded “Gasahol”. Rarer than the average gas purchased at a local gas station, this was yet another clue to help out Agent Will Graham and the rest of them. Will’s wife Molly and their son Willy were tired of living at a place they weren’t comfortable in. One late night Molly had stayed up to watch the Television. When the news came on she had the chance to hear all about the stories tabloid magazines were making up.
Like How Lecter was helping out Will with the investigation, how Freddie was Graham’s pet and The “Tooth Fairy” always kills the family pet right before he kills the family. Molly and Willy were upset. Upset over living at a place unknown to them and upset Will wasn’t there to be by their sides. The next morning they took a plane out to her father’s ranch along the Oregon Coast, this went against Will’s best wishes. Throughout chapters 25 to 27, the most lengthiest part of this third section, Thomas Harris writes about the life of his character Francis Dolarhyde and how he grew up.
The following is disturbing and almost sad to a certain point. Springfield, Missouri, June 14th, 1938, Marian Dolarhyde Trevane went to the hospital, 8 months pregnant with her child. That very night, Francis Dolarhyde was born. With bilateral fishures over his upper lip with hard and soft palate clefts, the nurses didn’t imagine he would live. He had no way to be fed or receive his milk. Prince Easter Mize, the night shift nurse at the hospital figured out a way for the little baby to receive it’s needed nutrition.
Through a clearing pipe inserted in one of it’s nostril’s. This is how the baby would eat for the next two weeks. Marian could not stand the fact her baby boy in that type of health. He would never be able to speak with proper speech and his face would remain disfigured for the rest of his life and never grow properly again. Within the next week Francis was enrolled at the Morgan Lee Memorial Orphanage. Grandmother Dolarhyde, Marian’s mother received a telephone call from her drunken son-in-law a few years later. He told her the entire story of Francis.
She never knew she had a grandson because Marian left home when she was pregnant and never talked to her scorned mother again. At the age of five, Grandmother Dolarhyde adopted little Francis and took him home. One late afternoon Grandmother took Francis to meet his real mother. Ms. Dolarhyde had never seen her daughter’s house or bothered to disturb her new life. Marian had married a man named Howard Vogt in 1943. He had been divorced already with three children from the previous marriage. Now he was running for Mayor of the city and trying to continue on with his life in a new direction.
Ms. Dolarhyde marched right past Marian’s and Howard’s servant, Viola and told young Francis to walk upstairs and go see his mother. When he reached up the stairs he saw his mother, sitting in her room putting on make up and looking in the mirror. He tried saying Mother but it came out more like “Muhner”. He never practiced that word before. Marian assumed it was just one of the three children’s friends and told him to come back later in the day. Francis continued saying “Muhner”, and then it hit her. She was in shock. She turned to the child. All these years later and now this…
Marian told her mother she wanted nothing to do with this. She threatened to call the authorities if they wouldn’t leave before her husband returned home. They left. The next week the stories were out in the papers about Howard Vogt marrying a mother who left her child for death. Howard Vogt lost the election by seventeen thousand votes that year. Grandmother Dolarhyde’s husband had past away years ago and left her in debt for the rest of her life. Ms. Dolarhyde had never worked before in the past, so she ended up opening her house to boarders and started her own nursing home for elders.
They lived in the very large house passed down through the Dolarhyde family during the ages. One night a very scared Francis was too scared of the dark to make it all the way down the hall and to in the washroom. He peed the bed. When Grandma found out she started yelling at him and shouting he was the dirtiest and most disgusting boy she has ever seen. Ms. Dolarhyde was very violent towards this seven year old child. She abused him whenever she was upset over something. When Francis finished cleaning himself off, she told him if he ever wet his sheets again, she would “cut it off”.
She told him this while holding her scissors up against his body. A few months later, the only friend Francis ever played with was over visiting him. She lived only three fields over and was the same age that Francis was. Ms. Dolarhyde allowed this little girl to visit because she enjoyed playing dress up with her using all of Marian’s old clothes. That afternoon she caught Francis and little Liza with their pants down. They wanted to see watch what each others private parts looked like. Grandma sent the little girl home, and took Francis into the house in anger.
This time she used the scissors for real. However Francis stilled loved her. He loved her more than anything. He couldn’t speak more than a few random practiced words, he had only one friend in his whole life, the children at school picked on him every day and his grandma who took him out of the orphanage home, abuses him almost everyday. Sometimes at night Francis would fantasize about thieves breaking into the house. He dreamed of taken the chicken cleaver and hurting them to save his loved grandmother, just so he could hear his grandma say, “you’re my little boy Francis”.
That’s all he ever wanted to hear. When Francis was fourteen he came home from school to see people from the nursing home taking his grandma away. She wasn’t shouting anymore after they gave her a needle. They put her in the van by wheelchair and that was the very last time Francis would ever see his beloved grandmother in his life. Marian had to now take him due to what had happened. When being introduced to Kimberly, Ned and Victoria, his new step sisters and brother, something very horrible took place. Ned beat Francis up after explaining to him, he was the reason their father lost his election.
The three children despised him, hated him already. Francis, stood up and left the room, face bloody and bruised. One tear dropped from his eye, however he didn’t cry. He wouldn’t cry… Francis at the age of twenty-five was arrested for breaking and entering the apartment of a female in his neighborhood. He was given the choice of jail or enrolling in the Army. He chose the Army. He worked with video tapes involving medical corps documentaries at the Brooke Army Hospital. In 1958-1959 he was over in Hong Kong working with a crew of medical surgeons.
He went along for the extra money involved in leaving home. The doctor’s found him very interesting and wanted to work on him, help fix his appearance. They took tissue from his inner ear and created a “Z-Plasty” operation to fix his nose. That helped to improve his speech. In 1961 Francis quit the Army after serving his years, and moved back home. He already knew where he was going to live as well. He moved back in to the old Dolarhyde house. In 1970, he received a telephone call that his Grandmother had finally past away.
At the funeral he saw his mother there, for the first time in fifteen years. She didn’t even recognize him. Nine years passed. Francis now had a job working at the Gateway Film Laboratory in St. Louis, he still lives at his house he grew up in during childhood, and just like back then, he still doesn’t have any friends or real relatives. Francis came across a painting in a museum by William Blake a few years later titled “The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed with the Sun”. There was something about that painting he found unexplainable, like it somehow related to him.
He carried the picture of it around in his pocket for weeks and then decided to take time of work with his savings he had and visit Hong Kong again. When he returned he had the dragon tattooed on his back. The neck of the dragon reaching his hairline and the tail just under the back of his left knee cap. The face of the dragon wasn’t in the painting, but he knew what it looked like anyway. He imagined it looked like his face… He believes he was born human but was changing, he was becoming the Dragon, and now the world owes him all.
It was five months later when the Jacobi family was found murdered in their home. -Back to the present day- Will Graham and Jack Crawford attended the funeral of Freddie Lounds to pay their respects and at the same time hope to see discover their suspect there. With the media telling the world it’s only eleven days until the next full moon, and that’s when the killer will strike next, they would try anything. They were desperate. Will figured the killer might attempt to go to the funeral out of spite. They would have been very lucky if that was the case. However, they were not that fortunate.
Francis Dolarhyde had met an employee during lunch named Reba McClane. He was attracted to her, it turned out she was blind. That didn’t matter to him though, he had always had troubles approaching women in the past but lately he had felt like he was on a power trip. He asked her if he could buy her a coffee, and the next thing, he was driven her home from work that very day. They had another date as well. A week later after becoming more friendly with each other, Francis took her back to his place and she spent the night there. Francis began hearing voices the next morning when they woke.
It was the dragon within him telling Francis to kill her. He could not do that though. He liked this girl far too much. It was hard for him to not listen and resist this urge. He told her she had to leave really soon before something bad happens. He ended up driving her back home and that was very upsetting to her, she just couldn’t understand why Francis was acting that way. The third section ends as Francis returns back home and works out while remembering the childhood memories he had had growing up. After reading the third section of this novel I felt somewhat sad for what had taken place.
Learning all about Francis Dolarhyde’s past was a hard thing to read, very uneasy to think, process, imagine, and then understand. He was mistreated as a kid, he had everything taken away from him and was cursed with a general bad luck since day one. His father left the family before he was even born. His mother put him up for adoption after he was released from the hospital. He was disfigured and handicapped for the most of his life. He was picked on and bullied on everyday at school. His guardian, Grandmother Dolarhyde, abused him whenever she felt like it. He had no friends growing up.
He was forced to live his childhood in a nursing home where elderly people surrounded him everyday. Later in his teenage years he went to live with his biological mother who never wanted him, his stepfather despised him and his stepbrother and sisters hated him. He had no one. Just to imagine what that must feel like, how it was to grow up like that isn’t even human. When I finished reading this section it was so easy to understand the psychological damage Francis Dolarhyde experienced as a kid. I found this section a little bit difficult to understand when the author began to write his text like this, in certain situations.
When reading the few parts where he uses that form of slanted italic text, it was difficult to figure out whether the text was what that character was thinking, what was actually happening, or just a psychological subplot of what the author was trying to tell us. I learned throughout this part of the section that the reason why Francis Dolarhyde is the way his is today, and the reason why he does what he now does, is because of the way he was brought up, the first fifteen years of his life. All he knew was violence and hate, there was nothing else to him. Those years were what crafted the future for him and his personality traits today.
I mean come on, he can barley even approach a female and he’s forty-three years old. The only girlfriend he ever had turns out to be blind. Where Francis works he has access to every homemade film brought into that company. He has a chance to watch them and take them home for himself. I just picture him there, watching the families happy, celebrating and doing everything he wanted to do as a child but was neglected. After this section ends, I predict another family will send there film to be made into a regular size VHS home movie, and Francis will develop an obsession with them too.
The third section turned out to be a very effective piece of writing towards the end once I think about it. Even though it started off slow, with no action, then the author took us back decades ago, we still get a little something out of it special. Thomas Harris planned it out that way. We had the opportunity to dig deep down into the dark past of this former mysterious character. Now all the cards are on the table so to speak. The reader knows who the killer is, why he does it, and how far the FBI is from catching him. Now we get to see them play things out and just watch what happens.