The Devil in the White City

Hiding Murder in Plain Sight 12th Grade

Some people do not realize what is really happening in front of them, no matter how obvious it seems to other people. In the case of H.H. Holmes, he is able to lie and charm his way into making people trust him so that he can get away with murder. In Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, the author presents his audience with the thoughts of both Holmes and his victims, clouding the light of perfection Holmes creates with the dark reality of his true intentions in order to let the readers see how his victims’ ignorance allows his evil ways to hide under the good that they fail to look past.

Larson gives his readers a glimpse into Holmes’ mind in order to allow them to contrast what he says and what he truly feels. In the first known murder presented in the novel, Larson tells his audience that Holmes “knew he possessed great power over Julia… [He] possessed [her] now as fully as if she were an antebellum slave, and he reveled in his possession” (146). The reader can tell that Holmes believes he dominates Julia, that she has no control of what he will do to her. This is frightening to the audience as they now see Holmes is quite crazy. Not only does Holmes possess these women, he sees them as objects. Larson entitles one of...

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