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Step Into My Parlor: The Chilling story of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. By Ed Baumann. Bonus Books, 1991. Of Men and Monsters. By Richard Tithecott.
University of Wisconsin Press, 1997. Richard Tithecott stresses in the beginning of his book that we build up serial killers. We fear and despise them, but we also admire and long for them. They portray our nightmares that we wish to fulfill but will not acknowledge. To Tithecott, Dahmer existed because society has created serial killers. He also feels in order for us to survive we must create them.
Jeffrey Dahmer was a disorganized killer, but not the normal understanding of what we call disorganized. Dahmer followed orderly methods when he killed his victims, but the victims were picked haphazardly. Tithecott then strays from Dahmer and discusses analogies to him. In part one of the book, Tithecott explains by looking at the presentations of Dahmer. Tithecott does this in order for us to see how neatly and comfortably he lies in our society. He explains the importance of the monster that emerged from a typical, all-American middle-class family.
Dahmer falls into the subcategory of the sadistic, sexually oriented serial killer, who was a white male loner. In part two of the book, Tithecott describes the ways we construct serial killers in our minds. He suggests that we are both thrilled and horrified by Dahmer and those like him. The author aims to bridge the gap between fantasy and the violent reality of real-life killers. In the end, Tithecott sums up Dahmer as a serial killer whom no one could control. Ed Baumann explains Jeffrey Dahmer's childhood, his teenage years, and many arrests preexistent to the discovery of his victims.
Dahmer searched for reassurance that others cared for him, while most felt he was a liar, an alcoholic, a thief, an exhibitionist, and a molester of children. Dahmer took refuge in his fantasies as a means of defending himself against feelings of masculinity. The fantasies revealed his deep hostility and anger. Dahmer could not tolerate rejection or abandonment, so when his victims tried to escape, he would fall under a spell. Baumann talks about Dahmer's methods for luring, murdering, and disposing of his victims. During May through July 1991, Dahmer was killing almost at a rate of one male per week.
Dahmer used various chemicals and acids that would reduce the flesh and bone of his victims, so he could pour them down a drain or toilet. Baumann believed Dahmer was an unusual serial killer. He felt that Dahmer fit the stereotype of someone who was totally out of control. Dahmer let his fantasy life control him. The main difference between Dahmer and other serial killers is most other serial killers stop once the victim dies. Dahmer is totally opposite, that is when he said he began to have fun with his victims.
After they were dead, Jeffrey Dahmer's fantasy life and hatred of himself was projected onto his victims. While Richard Tithecott's book was short, the material he presented was befuddling. He would stray to other areas that seemed irrelevant to what he was writing. Ed Baumann's book was about average length and the material presented was easy to understand.
He wrote about Jeffrey Dahmer's ways of life (either real or fantasy) and his victims. He did not exploit the victims or their families. Baumann stayed with his subject and seemed knowledgeable of the subject. Bibliography:
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Research essay sample on Jeffrey Dahmer Serial Killers