Rhetorical Analysis Of The Devil In The White City By Erik Larson

Words: 924
Pages: 4

In The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, the author, Erik Larson, focuses around the idea that beauty can hide the ugliness within. Larson writes about the effects of dishonest work and by writing this book, attempts to drive society towards the right direction, towards honesty. In this writing piece, Larson uses different rhetorical strategies to achieve his purpose in encouraging society towards integrity. Larson includes the use of setting, imagery, and symbolism to attain his purpose. Towards the beginning of the novel, Larson sets the scene in Illinois, Chicago. Larson writes, “Daylight faded to thin broth. The sidewalks filled with men and women leaving work… Cab drivers cursed and …show more content…
When the fair first opened, through his imagery, Larson displays the fair, at night, as a “perfect city.”(255) At night, the lights illuminate the whole area, all the while hiding the flaws that are present at the fair. The white lights symbolizes Daniel Burnham’s effort and zealousness for the fair's success. While the light hiding the flaws represents the crimes going unnoticed in the city. Holmes commits countless crimes behind the mask of his cunning and witty character. Through his cleverness and charm, Holmes is able to lure his victims to his World Fair Hotel and murder them. He is also represented through Infanta Eulalia’s disobedience. Larson writes, “Resentment began to stain the continuing news coverage of her visit. On Saturday, June 10, the Tribune sniffed, ‘Her highness… has a way of discarding programs and following independently the bent of her inclination’”(263) As Infanta Eulalia, a spanish royalty, is exposed to the freedoms of the city and experiences the looseness of Chicago’s societal standards, she is more inclined to follow her own will and go against those of others. The looseness of these societal standards are symbolic to Holmes’ crimes going unnoticed. Due to the inadequate police force in Chicago and Holmes’ charming personality, his deeds go unpunished for a long period of time. Holmes is eventually caught off guard and sentenced to death for his wrongful actions. The thesis, is once again shown through Holmes’ fake personality that hides the disgusting, repulsive, and psychotic person he truly is. Holmes was dishonest and corrupt in his actions which eventually led him to receiving the death sentence. Although Burnham was extremely dedicated to his work, there were many other factors that caused the Chicago World Fair to be seen as a product of corruptness. Larson urges the readers to follow in the footsteps of rectitude and honor in order to