1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
Thomas Harris has had a huge success in delivering his series of novels starring the character Hannibal. All of these books have appeared on Bestseller lists in America and beyond. After introducing the character of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, which was released in 1988, critics in favor of this bestseller had expectations to live up to in Hannibal. The success of the book was so extreme in that before the release of Hannibal it might seem to be a hard act to follow, but in the end Harris has done it. In many aspects Hannibal earns its title as a bestseller and to much extent can be categorized as one.
According to Clive Bloom, author of Bestsellers: Popular Fiction Since 1900. In theory a best seller can be defined as the work of fiction sold in the most units (books in a given price range) to the most people over a set period of time. A vast number of novels are published each year. In the flux of new products which the book trade produces, only a minority achieve some more of a less permanent existence and stay in a view for longer than the moment granted to most novels claims Sutherland the author of Bestsellers. Permanence of a less absolute kind is achieved by bestsellers. For a season, extending usually from a few weeks to year, these novels withstand forces, which push most fiction to be forgotten. In accordance to Bloom's theology, "Hannibal" is obviously a best seller due to its sale records from the time of its publishing date until now. It has sold way over 1.7 million copies which was last recorded in 2000. However, a best seller in practice contains other qualities that characterize its position. "Hannibal" possesses these characteristics as well.
Very largely speaking, the bestseller has two functions. The first is economic. It exists to sell the best and make money for its producers and merchandisers. Hannibal's sale of books definitely fulfills this function. The second more flexible function is ideological. The bestseller expresses and feeds certain needs of the public.
One of the most striking features of the bestseller, compared to the ?literary' novel is the all-or-nothing nature of its achievement. It is commonly, the book that everyone is reading now, or that no one is reading anymore. Hannibal fortunately has remained the book that audiences still want to read. Hannibal is able to achieve the attention of its audience because of the character that Harris invents, Hannibal
The audience is first introduced to Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs .The plot in short was about a serial killer named Buffalo Bill who kills and mutilates six young women who were found in rivers. Clarice Starling a FBI trainee is sent on a special assignment with the goal of catching Buffalo Bill. She has to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a very dangerous psychopathic killer who likes to eat the body parts of his victims. Buffalo Bill once had been Lecter's patient and so the FBI hopes to find the criminal through Lecter's knowledge about him. Much interest in Hannibal revolves around the games he plays with Clarice. While he provides her with snippets of data that can lead her to the criminal, he systematically uncovers and enjoys her personal fears. In the end Buffalo Bill is caught but Hannibal escapes from his captivity.
The horror of Hannibal Lecter returns in Hannibal. Harris however makes Hannibal the target. The setting is seven years since Hannibal had the daring escape from special custody in which he left five guards dead. Agent Starling who interviewed him seven years ago still remembers the metallic rasp of this demented genius. She is set out to find him when she gets a letter from him. Mason Verger, one of Hannibal's old victims, is also introduced in this book, which wants to gain revenge from Hannibal who nearly killed him. Mason Verger was a patient of Lecter's in the past and Lecter drugged him and convinced him to slice off his face with a piece of broken glass. Now, years later, all he cares about is capturing Lecter and torturing him to death. The plot has a whole new focus in the sequel, Hannibal. The target of the novel is not one of his patients but the doctor himself. Harris also makes the story intriguing by making Hannibal the target of one of his old patients.
The bestseller is also nowadays associated with a high degree of hype and gimmickry. Hannibal's persona enchants American audiences because, in several respects, he serves as the perfect mirror-the hype. That is, Americans find many qualities in his character, wishing they were qualities of their own-to be most desirable; he is well learned in historical and present-day culture, he has the tact charm of a Cobra, and he wields ambiguous yet absolute power over anyone he encounters. In the novel Hannibal is able to lure Clarice into his home. After many years of finishing her case with Hannibal Clarice is still willing to go on a hunt for him after he writes her a letter. Her interest in Hannibal goes far beyond capturing this psychopathic killer. Clarice, though she does not admit it, feels an obligation to go out and seek the doctor who uncovered her fears and thoughts years before. Clarice never reveals her psyche to Dr.Lecter; instead he gets deep into her mind unknowingly as she tries to get into his in the prequel. He has a mental hold on Clarice, which ultimately turns into a physical one as he captures her in the end of the novel.
Also serving to delight the American audience, Hannibal's essence includes a gimmick; he kills people and then consumes portions of their remains. Hannibal illustrates more of these gruesome acts. One that is worth noting is one of the final scene in which he is eating brains. Critics everywhere acknowledged this scene. It can be analyzed that he eats his victims because even though his powerful skills of perception allow him to analyze people within seconds, he cannot fully captivate them until he has literally brought them within the confines of his own body. Dr.Hannibal Lecter reflects the idealistic traits longed for by most Americans as well as their craving for rather gruesome intrigues. There is no doubt that people find interest in all things exotic, and most deviant behavior occurs infrequently enough to be called such. Witnessing a man of Dr. Lecter's peculiarities warrants an appreciation for him not too dissimilar from that of a rare and deadly animal or a lovely yet poisonous flower-they should be treasured for their seldom ness but respectfully viewed at a distance. (Martin).
Another determining factor of a bestseller is advertising. Advertising is the main concern of publisher's aiming at best-selling success. Their contents can be enhanced rather than diminished by other media, which support the power of the books to enthrall the imagination. The film version of Hannibal dominated the box office, and alongside all sorts of associated merchandise, renewed interest in Harris and "Hannibal". This type of advertising in a bestseller can encourage its publishers to perpetuate a continuous loop of production, because of the interest from its audiences.
Character dominates popular fiction and it is for this reason also that Hannibal is a bestseller. The bestseller expresses and feeds the needs of the public. Harris creates one of the most captivating men ever conceived. Furthermore, Hannibal is able to engage the reader into Dr, Lecter's character as explanation for his behavior is introduced. While in The Silence of the Lambs, Lecter avoided the psychoanalysis of his own behavior; here his twisted ways are explained by childhood trauma that is familiar to regular readers of serial-killer fiction, even if the specifics of the abuse are not. We are left wondering whether the memories of Lecter's childhood horrors are an explanation. He may be evil, but despite his assertion, he was not born that way. Hannibal's abusive life as a child may be the leading cause for his behavior as an adult. Through the creation and evolution of Hannibal, This bestseller brings us into the life of this psychopathic killer. As more and more is revealed about Hannibal in the novel much more than a feeling of fear is felt. This novel engages the reader deeper into the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in comparison to its prequel.
It is to a great extent that Hannibal can be categorized as a bestseller. Though it's sales information definitely proves that the book was able to make a lot of money and remain popular, the elements in the book also perpetuate its position on the bestseller list.