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Empathizing with Serial Killers
Judy's letter to Robert Cormier 13 May 1997
This one-page typed letter is from a friend of "Bob and Connie". Judy confesses her fascination with serial killers, especially Ted Bundy, and praises the powerful characterization in Cormier's Tenderness. She speaks about her uncomfortable empathy with Eric and how believable and tragic Lori is.
Robert Cormier's letter to Judy 28 May 1997
In this one-page typed reply to Judy's letter, Robert Cormier confirms that the quick pacing of Tenderness was deliberate. He mentions that he created the character of Lori well before beginning the actual novel. He concludes by praising Judy's enclosed poem and asking to see more of her verse.
Robert Cormier's letter to Ashley Hardiman
"Meet The Bully" John Fitch IV Column
In this bi-weekly column written under the name "John Fitch IV", Cormier recounts his childhood encounters with an unnamed bully after hearing Jonathan Winters share his experience with bullies on a talk show. Cormier wonders whether or not bullies can grow up to be good people.
Robert Cormier's letter to Debra Bunn 6 March 1999
In this short half-page letter, Cormier thanks Debra for choosing Tenderness as her senior thesis. He reveals that one inspiration for this character Lori came from a girl he knew whose life he pitied. He was also interested in the humanity of serial killers.
Dissecting Empathy In this short article in Psychology Today (2013 Sept. 19) by Jack Pemment, MA, MS, the author examines whether and to what degree serial killers experience other people.
A Taste for Murder: The Curious Case of Crime Fiction In this scholarly article in the online Journal of Media and Culture (Vol. 17, No. 1, 2014), Rachel Franks takes a historical look at the writing and consumption of crime fiction of all kinds.
Why Do We Humanize White Guys Who Kill People? In this article in The Cut by Rebecca Traister (2015 Dec. 2), the author provides contextual history and a compelling argument for the blindness of society to the experiences of the victims of these "white guys".