Devil in the White City Essay

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In a city of millions, it is possible for two very similar men to lead distinctly opposite lives. While one aspires to be the best architect America has ever seen, the other falls pray to a sadistic calling full of murder and the sick pleasure he finds in the anguish of others. Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, uses the images of good and evil, Burnham and Holmes, as a doorway into the world of the chilling mysteries surrounding one man and the brilliant designs of the other. Though both resemble each other and have been immersed in the same world in Chicago, the lives they lead run far from parallel to each other. Throughout the story, numerous episodes occur that draw on the characters true nature as the story follows them going about their various endeavors in turn of the century Chicago.

Looking at Holme’s past, it becomes clearer as to how the demons such as the ones he has dealt with could turn somebody into the kind of person who would go about life as he does. After enduring numerous injustices and violations as a child, Holmes now finds his outlet in the things that had caused him so much anguish and misery in his past. In the chapter ‘The Necessary Supply‘, Holmes alias Mudgett is brought into a doctors office and examines a skeleton, which, in turn, brings out a newfound interest in the medical world as well as a macabre obsession with the gruesome murders he commits later in life. From this early stage which Larson has set, it becomes apparent that though the men mayb be similar in appreance and placed in similar situations with similar skill in their chosen profession,they are complete opposites and as such, it is hard to not wonder how the events that took place did take place. After giving this introduction to Holmes, a curiosity is instilled which cannot be sated until everything that can be known about his actions is known and has been seen next to the accomplishments of Burnham. Perhaps one of the most significant events is in...

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