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Silence of the Lambs


The study is a learning about “The Silence of the Lambs”. The film explains about a psychiatrist and a serial killer who was serving incarceration life doctor Hannibal Lecter. From the research, we are able to learn about the disorder of gender identity that occurs when an individual encounters internal fight in the gender he or she identifies himself or herself with in life. Many people who are born with the condition always feel unsatisfied with the gender they were born with. From the study, one is also able to study about the social and cultural attitudes of the ailment. We will also explore on the nursing plan for the patients suffering from the disorder. Finally, the study will also help the learner to have an experience on how to foster positive attitude to people suffering from the gender identity complaint.

‘'Silence of the lambs'' is an American psychological horror film which depicts a youthful federal bureau of investigation agent Clarice who is taken from her training at the FBI training school at Quantico by Jack. She is tasked by the research department to interview a forensic psychiatrist and a serial killer who was serving incarceration life doctor Hannibal Lecter, concerning what he knew about the whereabouts of another serial killer, Buffalo Bill. The identity Bill is revealed towards the end of the film as Gumb. Agent Clarice, the chief protagonist in the movie, is taken to where the FBI had jailed Lecter, Baltimore state hospital for the criminally crazy. She tries to interview him, but he shows an abrupt rebellion because of her attempt to empty his brains until Clarice decides to walk away. But on her way out, another insane patient throws semen on her, and Lecter calls her back to condemn the attack. Lecter offers to help but with a condition that he being transferred to another facility.

At the same time, Buffalo Bill abducts the daughter of Ruth Martin a minister of the United States, Crawford as Clarice tried to investigate the bodies that were previously killed by Bill by carrying out Autopsy analysis (Casey, 2012). After this, Crawford orders Clarice to conform to Lecter's demand which in turn offers to give her information regarding the ‘wanted man' Bill. He does so but initially he torments Clarice by reminding her of her tormenting horrific childhood. Although he initially gave wrong information about the where about of Bill, he later gave an insight that helped Clarice figure out the whereabouts of Bill. After this, Hannibal escaped from his cell room after killing mercilessly guards and the driver of an ambulance. After learning about Hannibal's escape Clarice Crawford continue to interview Bills friends and studying his victims which led to a realization that Bill is Gumb who posed as a tailor, fashioning women's suit using a human skin. Later, Bill is apprehended by Clarice and after a deadly confrontation, Clarice managed to kill Bill the chief antagonist of the film and finally the daughter of the minister is rescued.

In the movie, Buffalo Bill is depicted as a man struggling with his true identity. His childhood was traumatizing as he was deserted by his mother who was a prostitute at very tender age of his life. Gumb struggles with his identity, and this makes him turn into a nightmare that used to terrorize women by killing them (Casey, 2012). He used to kill plump women in the aim of peeling off their skin so that he can make a female skin for himself. He always wanted to change his gender and become a woman as he always thought that femaleness was a more anticipated state than being male. His sex confusion and sexual orientation lead him not only to wear a woman's skin but also want to transform into a woman. He tucks in his male genitalia and dresses like a female for him to look like a woman. Therefore, in this film the psychiatric disease depicted is that of being a transgender which makes an individual struggle with sexual and physical identity.

Characteristics of the disorder

The disorder of gender identity occurs when an individual encounters internal conflict in the gender he or she identifies himself or herself with (Baldessarini, 2010). People with this disorder always feel not satisfied with the gender they were born with, and they end up doing all that is within their power to change the course of nature, and they struggle to change their true nature. Victims of this disorder behave and portray themselves as individuals of the opposite sex, and this may have far reaching consequences in the fact that they are even confused on whom to love and associate with in life. As a result, they end up feeling secluded by their weird choice of sexual partners, mode of dressing, behavioral responses and their perception is different from the rest of the rest of the community members. Children who grow up with this disorder feel disgusted by their genitalia, and they end up feeling alone and depressed.

They always wish to grow and become members of the opposite sex, and once they grow up, they tend to do away with their genitalia and live like people from the sex they want to assume. In the film, Gumb struggles with this condition as he tries his level best to transform into a woman. He hides his penis behind his legs and due to depression; he decides to tailor a woman skin for his use and tries to dress like a woman (Klein & Davis, 2009). However, in the process of changing into womanhood, he ends up killing so many women. This condition went a long way to affect his sexual life as he falls in love with a fellow man ending up leaving him after some time. The issue made him bitter and ended up killing the new lover of his old boyfriend. The confusion of transgender changes a person's identity and behavior and if not well managed, the person ends up feeling alone ad disserted. Gumb turns into a serial killer as he tries to come to terms with his anticipated sexual identity.

Societal and cultural attitudes

The societal and cultural attitudes reflected about transsexuals are that the community is not ready to accommodate people with this disorder (Klein & Davis, 2009). This is evident by the fact that, Gumb was hunted and finally killed without the FBI knowing the real problem affecting him. Despite the fact that his methodology of expressing his sexual orientation was not acceptable, he should have been given a chance to clarify himself and probably help him change his way of doing things. People struggling with this disorder end up feeling alone and deserted and every time they try to expose their true nature, they are regarded as outcasts who are abnormal. As a result, these people and up doing horrible things to justify their life and existence. Gumb turned into a serial killer as a result of his terrible upbringing as he ends up becoming his foster grandparents as his first victims.

Ethical questions

In this film, there are ethical issues that are brought to light that highlight the plight of people with critical psychiatrically related disorders. One of the major questions that come up is how the society can rise to the occasion and help patients suffering from psychiatric disorders like transgender (Baldessarini, 2010). Another ethical question that comes up in this film is whether people suffering from certain mental disorders should be eliminated and if they are reduced, whether the problem is solved or not.  Gumb posed a danger to his immediate community as he turned into a serial killer who tortured his victims before killing them painfully.

Even though people suffering from certain critical psychiatric disorders are not themselves, they are not justified to take part in illegal, antisocial behavior like resulting to murder. If the need is, they should be taken to a medical facility and made through medication, guidance, and counseling (Klein & Davis, 2009). Also, the community should not discard people who look and sound different from them. Doctor Hannibal despite his craziness he should not have been held behind bars and assumed that that is where he belonged. The agency took him for granted and at the end he ends up killing so many people as he tried to escape from the hands of the police. The community should have an inclusive approach to people with psychiatric disorders as seclusion results too much more disastrous effects. 

Knowledge of psychiatric nursing

The knowledge of psychiatric or mental health nursing is of great help in changing the response to the film and the characters depicted in the movie. It contributes to understanding the behavior of Buffalo Bull and the reason behind his killings and to try to change into a woman (Klein & Davis, 2009). It further assists to understanding the film unfolding of amassing all the available resources to deal with an imminent threat to citizen security. This is because psychiatric patients if not handled well they can turn into monsters that can take away human life. 

A better understanding of mental transgender through film

The film can be used to help patients, families, communities and healthcare staff with the patient of gender identity in the sense that they should know how to identify patients with this disorder. This can occur through their actions and behavior, and they should hurry to look for solutions to the problem before if it goes out of hand.

Nursing care plan

The only way to help Gumb, a character in the film is to come up with a nursing plan that can help him to solve his predicament. Firstly, is to take him through transgender transformations. The rationale behind this is to change his appearance and roles. Secondly, is to take him to hormonal therapy (Baldessarini, 2010). The logic behind this is to his masculine body to feminine. Thirdly, is to take through modification of original features. The rationale behind this is to modify the characteristics of his body onto that of a female. Fourthly, is to take him through psychotherapy. The rationale behind this is to improve his body image, and finally, it will involve taking him through voice therapy to modify verbal communication.

Fostering positive attitudes

The main aim of this logic is to encourage a positive attitude in understanding, developing empathy and respect towards people with gender identity disorder, it's important for one to know that they deserve to live, and they should be accorded respect as normal human beings. 


In conclusion, people with transgender disorder deserve proper medical care and secluding them or eliminating them is not a solution. The problem should be noted early before escalating to disastrous levels. Finally, people with this disorder should be apprehended with a considerable care as they can cause more harm than good when mishandled.



Baldessarini, R. J. (2010). Drugs and the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Goodman and Gilman's the pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 383-435.

Casey, N. (Ed.). (2012). Silence of the Lambs. Nursing Standard6(42), 3-3.

Klein, D. F., & Davis, J. M. (2009). Diagnosis and Drug Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. Psychopharm Review4(6), 24.

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