Lambs as metaphor in connection with psychopathic killers

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Wed Oct 26 01:27:27 UTC 2011

The movie "Silence of the Lambs" ( was released in 1991, three years after the novel. In the movie and book, the protagonist relates to a psychopathic killer (cannibal) a childhood memory in which she tries, but is unable, to rescue a lamb.

The film hit a creepy-note with a lot of people, and it may be that "lambs" is here to stay as a metaphor (for an innocent) in connection to a psychopathic killer.

Twenty years late, in the October 24 article "‘Dangerous Instincts’: Ex-FBI profiler explains dangers of that ‘nice’ neighbor" in the Washington Post (, Monica Hesse uses the lamb metaphor in connection to psychopaths without reference to the movie or book the "Silence of the Lambs":

Is it possible to tell whether the lawn guy is a psychopath, or just overcharging you on fertilizer? The lambs are screaming, and they are in your cul de sac.

I suppose "screaming" might be considered a sly reference to the word "silence" in the title….

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list