In The Devil In The White City, Erik Larson Tells The Story

1063 WordsMar 13, 20175 Pages
In The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson tells the story of two men, an architect and a serial killer, operating in Chicago during the 1890’s This novel describes the years surrounding the building of the 1893 Chicago World 's Fair, also known as The World 's Columbian Exposition, which was designed to commemorate the landing of Columbus in America. It is divided into four parts with the first three primarily taking place in Chicago between the years 1890-1893. However, Part four of the novel takes the reader to Philadelphia circa 1895. In this novel, Larson helps readers make sense of what was new about big cities at the end of the nineteenth century—transportation, communication, electricity, anonymity—by showing how these aspects of…show more content…
The irony that such a positive global statement could be at the same place at the same time as such terror as Dr. Holmes’s murders was daunting and it lured him to pursue this particular case. He says he would not have been interested in just doing a book about the Fair or just about Holmes. But together they made a unity of good and evil. Though Holmes is the obvious criminal in this novel, Larson doesn’t particularly characterize him that way. He is fairy neutral about taking sides, but he seems to lean more towards the side of holmes. He describes Holmes as a normal person, and he even gives him excuses for his actions and creates his persona as a gentle, kind man, which only emphasizes the battle between good and evil in his novel. In interviews, Larson has said that the most difficult part of writing The Devil in the White City for modern readers is explaining why Chicago wanted to host the World’s Fair so badly and only having the knowledge of it a person 108 years in the future could obtain. One reason for Chicago’s interest in hosting the World’s fair is that it wanted to prove itself to large established cities. Chicago was one of the largest cities in the country at the time, but it was established more than 200 years after New York City and Boston. Also, most of the wealthy families in Chicago made their money from slaughterhouses — not the most glamorous profession. By hosting the 1893 World’s Fair, Chicago wanted to show that it had its own unique
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