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Sociological Aspects of "The Devil in the White City" Essay

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Sociological aspects of “The Devil in the White City”

“The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson was a mix between two stories that overall worked well together. The stories worked together to convey the true overall meaning of the theme good versus evil. Good and evil are seen everywhere throughout the novel, even in the most obvious of places such as the title. Good and evil, dark and light, they all stand for the same thing. White is normally found to be pure and good. By the author naming the book, The Devil in the White City, he is trying to tell the reader that the novel is about how even in truly pure places evil will follow. Although, good and evil is the main theme of this novel, I found that if you look deeply into the way he tells the story, he is also trying to tell his reader about other themes. These other themes that you can find all throughout the book are things such as pride and determination. These other themes were very prominent and played very well into the plot and the theme of the story.
One half of the story was of a man named Daniel Burnham, who was a famous architect of his time. It’s in this half of the story that can you see the good part of the city. Pride can be seen mainly throughout his story. His life in these pages was based on the construction of the World Columbian Exposition which was a fair held in Chicago in 1893. This magnificent fair was in honor of one of America’s most well known discoverers, Christopher C. Columbus. This was the 400th anniversary of his discovery of the new world. Through Burnham’s pride and his determination, he was able to complete the fair in almost a year. However, it was not truly ready for opening day due to a few construction issues, such as the world’s f...


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...mes’ lifestyle. Holmes, throughout his life was a criminal. Holmes desire to murder people was believed to come from from his desensitized feeling about dead bodies. This was due to his medical career. As mentioned earlier, when Holmes was in medical school, he had many dealings with cadavers and was very familiar with them. Later, when he began killing he did not look at the bodies as human beings, but as material or later, cash money. This relationship between crime and deviance is mainly why I choose this book. I feel that H. H. Holmes, although Holmes was a strange and demented man, was very successful. This success questions what makes people successful: is it your status, education, or was it his determination?



Works Cited


Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. New York: Crown, 2003. Print.


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