The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
The prologue begin aboard the Olympic following a man named Daniel Burnham on April 4, 1912. Burnham is suffering of severe pain in his foot. Burnham tries to send a message to his friend Millet who is aboard the Titanic, but the message was not allowed to be sent. Burnham thinks back to the fair and reminisces of the people that helped with the fair and thinks about who is still alive from the fair.
Part 1 The first chapter introduces Chicago, in the 1800s as a place where flocks of single women are coming to Chicago looking for jobs. This city was described as very unsafe. Two people a day, on average, died at railroad crossings, disease was very common, and people died from …show more content…
Burnham eventually goes to New York to personally convince three of the architects. Because Burnham used architects outside of Chicago they brought in five firms from the Chicago area to help assist. The architects from the east come and visit Chicago and Jackson Park. The architects are very unimpressed with Jackson Park for the site of the fair. Root becomes very sick, but the architects continue to work without Root. Things seemed to getting better for Root in terms of health when all of a sudden he dies. Burnham contemplates quitting the fair but persists. H.H. Holmes arrives in the city of Englewood, Illinois. Holmes enters E. S. Holton Drugs and talks to the store owner Mrs. Holton about a job. She was in need of desperate help because her husband had cancer. The plot then goes to Mudgett’s childhood including scene in a doctor's office and the fake death a friend. Towards the later part of the chapter Mr. Holton dies and Holmes asks Mrs. Holton if he could buy the store, and she agreed. Holmes’s career as a pharmacist is turning out to be a good job for him. He starts to travel to Minneapolis quite often as there is a girl, Myrta, there he likes and wants to marry. They eventually get married and move back to Chicago. Quickly Myrta becomes jealous because of all the attention Holmes receives from other girls at the pharmacy. Eventually Myrta moves out and lives with her parents. Holmes’s buys land across the
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Daniel Burnham had to overcome many manmade and natural obstacles in building the World’s Fair. The most important obstacle Burnham had to overcome was time. He was only given three years to build the World’s Fair. Daniel Burnham hired four
The attachment “Murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed america” to the title hardly does the novel justice. Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, a nonfiction novel that surrounds the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, also known as The World’s Columbian Exposition. The novel follows the lives of two real men, Daniel Burnham, the architect who builds the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who exploits the fair to find his victims. Many new inventions were introduced at the fair, such as Juicy Fruit gum, the Ferris Wheel, and many other novel ideas that impacted the lives of many people for generations. The beautiful fair Burnham creates provides the perfect distraction and lure for Holmes’ activities. In his novel The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson suggests that good and evil coexist in the world by using charged language, imagery and juxtaposition to show although people view the fair as a perfect dreamland immune to evil, it still lurks outside in the dark, influencing the rest of the world.
Throughout parts I and II of the novel, Larson switches between the plotline of Burnham and the plotline of Holmes. The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair is introduced in chapter two. In this chapter we are also given more
Dr. H. H. Holmes has a passion for murder, and he hides his true personality behind an act of a charming man managing a hotel. Since Holmes uses his creativity to disrupt the lives of innocent people, he brings out the Black City of Chicago. As a result of Holmes’s passion for murder, he has to keep his psychotic talent secret. Only very few people know Holmes’s true lifestyle, and if they do, he kills them. Holmes weaves his way into to his victims’ lives to manipulate them for his personal benefit.. Even though the White City masks some of Chicago’s problems, evil still
The book The Devil In the White City by Erik Larson re-tells the story of Chicago’s World Fair, while H.H. Holmes, also known as “America’s first serial killer”, emerges as a dark force within the fair. Switching back and forth between the experiences of the head fair administrator, Burnham, and the other directors along with the evils of Holmes, the reader begins to understand the world of tragedy and crime that lies behind the public’s excitement. From a devastating storm to the deaths of multiple builders, suspense builds as tragedy is followed by more tragedy. Through the use of contrasting ideas and ethical clauses highlighted by symbolisms and descriptions within the book, Erik Larson creates an underlying argument that one’s pursuit of pride and success often causes destruction and comes at the price of another’s well-being.
Lastly, Holmes has so much bravado. As the creditors were swaying to arrest Holmes, “Holmes fled”(Larson 325). This shows he won’t be a man and face the consequences. He won’t fight back. As Holmes fled, he shows the reader this fake courage and fake dignity.
In the novel, The Devil in The White City, the author, Erik Larson, utilizes a back and forth organizational pattern between the two main characters, Daniel H. Burnham and H.H. Holmes. It showed how their lives contributed to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Larson began the novel where the story actually ends in 1912 on the Olympic, a sister ship of the Titanic. The character, Burnham, waits for a response from his initial message to his friend Millet, aboard the Titanic. What Burnham doesn’t know at that time, is that the Titanic sunk and his friend Millet is dead. This is the point to which the story begins. Burnham flashes back to the building of the World’s fair while waiting for his friend’s response.
In the novel The Devil in the White City, Author Erik Larson uses imagery, irony, and juxtaposition to parallel the good and evil sides of the city of Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair. Larson takes a more upbeat, joyous tone while following the story of Burnham and the architects designing the World Fair, but the tone turns much darker when perspectives change and we follow the plot of H.H. Holmes, America’s first known serial killer. Using rhetorical devices like imagery, diction, and syntax, Larson is able to paint a picture of Chicago from both the good and evil side, setting a more serious and ominous tone for the novel.
In the 19th century the World's Columbian Exposition came about. It brought a time of American pride and perceived tranquility. The fair was a multi layered event that had new inventions come about as well as having beautiful features, although there were some things happening deeper in the fair such as murders that create eeriness throughout the book. Two prominent characters in the book are Daniel Burnham and H.H Holmes. Burnham an architect and Holmes a serial killer, these two main characters were the main difference between the light and the dark of the fair throughout the book. Erik Larson uses tone, imagery, and figurative language in The Devil in the White City in order to express the difference between the two characters motives and goals for the Chicago fair, demonstrating the good and evil in a peaceful time.
The motives of a person reflect who they are. In the book, Burnham had a goal to make the Chicago World’s Fair the best it could be. One way he did this was by noticing the need for a clean water supply. He believed “that the fair’s workers and visitors needed a better, safer supply [of water]” (138). This action made the exhibition a greater success and more appealing. Burnham also chose to use Westinghouse electricity to illuminate the White City better than the previous arc lights could. His actions were meant to help the country as a whole. Erik Larson showed how there are people who strive to use their
The Fair, with its mix of East and West and everything in between, became a microcosm of the country that was building it. In it, you see all the conflicts that were going on in the country at the time. Probably the most obvious is the labor that built the fair. At this point in history, the working class of the country, and indeed the world, were slowly, but unstoppably moving toward unionization, fairer working conditions and change that is very much the same as the working class of today. You also saw the unchecked, without government regulated capitalism, and the very strong personalities of the men who ran the fair. In my opinion, it was the personalities of the leaders of the fair, as much as anything, that resulted in its amazing pace and scale of construction being pulled off. Burnham is a
The Magic of Mister Daniel Burnham would be the tool that would be behind the greatest fair that Chicago has even seen in the history of its city. Daniel Burnham was forty-three years old at the time he would receive news that Chicago would be the site of the fair, and he worked as an architect in Chicago. He was one of the best architects in Chicago because he and James Root were the first to design the towering building that would make cities build upwards, the skyscraper. That high achievement was would test Daniel Burnham and James Root even more so because of the fair that they were tasked to construct and build up eventually. The
Holmes decides to convince Pitezel to take out a very large life insurance policy to scam an insurance company by staging Pitezel’s death and substituting another corpse in his place, which he assured Pitezel he would had no trouble getting ahold of. In all reality, this was Holmes’ way of getting out of the predicament he had put himself in by trusting someone too much. In November of 1893, Holmes and Pitezel leave Chicago to travel across the country and commit frauds along the way. In July of 1894, Holmes attempts to swindle another pharmacy in Saint Louis, Missouri, just as he had done when he first got to Chicago. This time, on the other hand, it does not work out for Holmes. Holmes, for the first time ever in his criminal career, he is behind bars. While in jail, he meets Marion Hedgepeth, whom he shared a jail cell with. Holmes shares the insurance swindle plan with Hedgepeth, who “gave Holmes the name of a twisted attorney that could put over an insurance swindle” (Hounded to death by ghosts of the castle he built, 1914, p. 19, col. 1-7). Holmes promises Hedgepeth five hundred dollars for the hook up with the attorney if the attorney can make the plan happen. Holmes ends up being bailed out of prison by his third wife, Georgianna Yoke, after Holmes told her false reasons why he was arrested in the first place. Once again, Holmes has received another lucky charm where he could have been in jail for much longer, and perhaps put away forever.
Throughout history, many countries and cultures have experienced an identity crisis or a rebuilding period, where they aim to change their old ways in order to hopefully reach a higher place or a higher goal. During the turn of the century, a significant representation of a changing culture could be found in numerous cities around the country, especially in terms of the form and function of architecture. Perfect examples of a differing culture can be found in Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City. Through the description of building of Daniel Burnham’s White City, and H.H. Holmes’s World’s Fair Hotel, it can be inferred that both projects had different goals and very clearly represented the differences of a new period in American History. Holmes’s Hotel represented an older, darker, and more violent Chicago, while Burnham’s White City attempted to represent a new Chicago, one which could lift Chicago out of its dark past. The projects represented differing views during this new time period, and were also responsible for the way the public viewed Chicago and American Culture at the time. Architects and builders were attempting to outdo foreign countries, and show what America was truly made of. In order to do this, many changes had to be made, some drastic, that would ensure the world viewed America as successful. American cities were an important part of America’s changing image, and both projects discussed in Devil in the White City were incredibly different due to their
Larson manipulates nonlinear narrative techniques to keep readers engaged throughout the novel. The whole prologue of the novel is an excellent example of the use of nonlinear narrative structure to hook the reader and have them continue the novel. The prologue, as it becomes evident in the epilogue, describes Burnham’s boat ride on the Olympia after all the events of the novel have transpired (Larson, 5). In this fragment of future events, Burnham summarizes the triumphs and trials of putting on the fair. He also delves on the Holmes storyline and relays the information emerging from the