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The Devil in the White City
Transcript of The Devil in the White City
A division of Random House Inc.
Copyright 2003 by Erik Larson
1st Vintage Books edition was printed February 2004 in the United States Publication Information Purpose, Audience, Style Structure, and Tone... Similes & Metaphors Figurative Language "I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing"
Dr. H. H. Holmes
1896 A Quote from the Killer Himself The Devil In the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
by Erik Larson Brianna DeDeaux
AP Language and Composition
10/8/12 Prior Knowledge and Why I Chose This Book I have no prior knowledge on this disaster in Chicago, but instead I chose this book due to the fact that it seemed very interesting to read about a historical event that wasn't written in the usual historical format. Setting The Devil In the White City Takes place in Chicago, Illinois during the late 1880's to the mid-1890's Since this book is non-fiction, the author is unable to voice exactly what the reader, victims, and other people in the story are thinking or feeling. Because of this he writes in a third person point of view. By saying " In the following pages I tell the story of these men and this event, but I must insert a notice: However strange and macabre some of the following incidents may see, this is not a work fiction.", Erik Larson explains that the purpose of this book was to inform readers on the catastrophe, but also show how vile and iniquitous man can be. The way Erik Larson describes the events through imagery and diction makes it known that the intended audience is adults and young adults that like reading about historical events in a more open composition. "And in Chicago a young handsome doctor stepped from a train, his surgical valise in hand. He entered a world of clamor, smoke and steam, refulgent with the scents of murdered cattle and pigs. He found it to his liking." As you can see, this quote is an example of how the author uses a descriptive and climatic style of writing. Erik Larson uses many simple sentences in his writing, but also uses complex sentences.
ex. 1: The detectives trudged from one hotel to the next. (simple) pg. 343
ex. 2: A third blow came in this period, but of a different character. (complex) pg. 29 The author's tone in this book is novelistic. The book has a novelistic tone because the author conveys this time in history, not only as facts, but also as a story. "He removed the apron and rolled down his sleeves. The chloroform and his own intense arousal made him feel light-headed. The sensation, as always, was pleasant and induced in him a warm languor, like the feeling he got after sitting too long in front of a hot stove." pg. 148
"For now, the tension was subtle, a vibration, like the inaudible cry of overstressed steel" Similes Metaphors "Burnham was handsome, tall, and strong, with vivid blue eyes, all of which drew clients and friends to him the way a lens gathers light" pg. 26
"Slowly the energy left her, and her hands began to move in slow arcs, soothing and sensuous, the wild drums silent. Ballet now, a pastoral exit." pg. 148 Opinion My opinion on this book is that it is very intriguing. What made it so interesting is how the author was so descriptive. His use of figurative language such as metaphors, similes and imagery lured me in to keep reading. Summary This non-fiction book weaves together the stories of Daniel Hudson Burnham and Dr. Henry H. Holmes. Daniel Burnham's story is about him being the great architect who constructed the 1893 World's Fair. Whereas, Dr. Henry H. Holmes's story is about how he used the fair for his own nefarious ways, to attract his victims to their untimely death. Point of View Purpose Style Audience Structure Tone Major Players Daniel Burnham
Henry H. Holmess