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The Devil in the White City

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on 13 September 2013

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Transcript of The Devil in the White City

Author's Purpose
The author's purpose was to inform his audience about what had happened at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. HE included the process of how the fair became the World's Fair and how it was built, but he also gave insight to the sick under story of Henry Holmes. His purpose was to show that the world was so blinded by the extravagance of the fair, they paid no attention to the serial killings that were happening just blocks away from the fair's grounds.
The Devil in the White City
The author used a wide variety of syntax throughout the book. In the chapters about Holmes and his victims, the sentences were short, crisp and eerie, but in the chapters about Burnham the sentence structure was long and informative. There wasn't a huge importance of the use of syntax in the story, but the author included italics several times and a musical staff to add a little flare.
The World's Fair
Chicago, 1893
New York City, Washington D.C., St. Louis, and Chicago all wanted to house the fair
On April 25, 1890 President Benjamin Harrison signed the act that Chicago would hold the 1893 World's fair
The Ferris Wheel was invented to one-up the Effiel Tower in France
The first Ferris Wheel was invented by George Washington Ferris in 1893.
Although it looks extra sketchy, the Ferris Wheel was a huge success.
Main characters leading the World Fair's construction
John Root
As Burnham's right hand man he was the true genius behind the architectural designs. Root also seen as a talented and respectable man was willing to join Burnham on his exposition to build the World's Fair. But, unfortunately Root passed away before the fair's construction even began.
Before the death of Root, together they hired Olmsted to be the leader of the fair's landscape consturction. Known from his previous admired work in landscaping they knew Olmsted was the man for the job despite his tempormental attitued.
Daniel Burnham
He is a very important main character. Burnham was nominated Head architect of the World's Fair. Throughout the book he was presented as an highly respectable man with great pride. With the right amount of determination, architectural talent and business savvy it made him the capable leader the fair needed to overcome its many obstacles.
Surprisingly, nobody died on the Ferris Wheel, except a poodle who jumped out of their owners arms.
There was two main conflicts in the story: Holmes acquiring his victims and building the World's Fair. The resolution of Holmes getting caught gives way to the theme that with every action come consequences. The resolution of the fair side of the story was eventually having the fair in Chicago and it being a huge success. This resolution shows that if you work hard and consistently, anything can be accomplished
The setting of the book was during 1893 in Chicago. This is significant because the fair was held the same time as Holmes was murdering his victims while Burnham was strategically facing the issues of the fair
The book shifts back and forth every other chapter from Burnham (building) to Holmes (killing). Another noticeable shift was from formal and factual (Burnham) to more of a story feeling(Holmes). This contributes to the author's purpose because it goes to show how everyone was blinded by the big picture of the fair instead of a bigger problem within the fair.
Key Sentences
Madness in the White City
The World's Fair
the fair opened on May 1, 1893 and closed on October 30, 1893
it took three years to prepare
the planners of the fair selected a more classical theme for the city
more than 200 buildings occupied the grounds
"I was born with the Devil inside of me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing."
As a group, we decided this was a pretty key set of sentences within the book. It was stated twice, once before the book in the introductory pages and again in the story. It starts the story off on an eerie note and shows the audience that even Holmes himself felt he was born to kill.
Another aspect of key sentencing we noticed was a lot of talk of oceans, water and sailors. We thought this idea was strange until the end of the book when it trailed off into talking about the titanic. So all along it was a giant foreshadow.
Main Characters of the Murder Investigation

Frank Geyer
After Holmes was arrested for his insurance fraud, officers became suspicious of the murderous side of Holmes. Geyer was appointed head investigator of Holmes to uncover the suspicions of more crimes commited by Holmes, including the suspected murders of three young children that he was put in charge of.
The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson, is a non-fictional mystery. In the book psychopathic Holmes is introduced periodically throughout the book as a serial killer during the 1893 World's Fair. The book takes the reader through the construction of the World's Fair and the murders of Holmes.
Holmes was a psychopathic murderer who killed a mass amount of people during the World's Fair. He was able to kill this mass amount of people because the grandeur of the fair distracted from the dangers lurking in the shadows. He confessed to 27 murders, but it is unsure of how many people he actually killed. His body count could range up to 200.
Frank Geyer
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