Into the mind of a serial killer.

Essay by kevtra2High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2003

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It isn't hard to enter the local Barnes and Noble and find a book about a serial killer. It isn't hard to go to the movie theater and see a film based on a serial killer. It isn't hard to turn on the television and find something playing starring a serial killer. Today, killings seem to be a very common theme in popular culture. However, with these industries churning out item after item centered around serial killers each year, the term has almost become a catch phrase for any person who commits a murder. Writers now use the term so casually that it has almost lost its meaning. Despite this, there are still authors who have done their research and truly capture the true meaning of the term "serial killer" in their work.

Thomas Harris wrote a very successful series of three books all pertaining to a similar plot. They have been so successful that two of the three have been turned into high grossing movies.

The first book of the set was called Red Dragon. In this novel, Harris was able to create a character, Francis Dolarhyde, who epitomizes the profile of a serial killer. Instead of just writing a story for the sake of entertainment, Harris's character portrays many of the details common in true-life serial killers. To accomplish this, Harris created a character whose crimes fit the mold of a serial killer, who suffered physical and emotional abuse, and who exemplifies the triad of symptoms present in many serial killers.

To be classified as a serial killer, a murderer's crimes must have certain characteristics. A serial killer must claim a minimum of three to four victims, while having a cooling off period in between. In most cases, victims are strangers to the killer and the murders...