While reading Erik Larson’s book “The Devil in the White City” readers will see how it shows, “ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, then White City and the Black” (xi). Maslin quotes, “[a]s a child he, Holmes, had been terrified of skeletons, as an adult, he was mysteriously able to supply them for anatomy classes”. Throughout this book readers will be able to see that one should truly not judge a book by its cover, for it could reveal something dark and twisted.
H.H. Holmes, a man “conjuring an impression of wealth and achievement” was “twenty-six years old, [h]is height was five feet, eight inches; he weighed only 155 pounds. He had dark hair and striking blue eyes, once likened to the eyes of a Mesmerist” (35). Holmes was incredibly charming and with that he used it to his full advantage. “To women as yet unaware of his private obsessions, it was an appealing delicacy. He broke prevailing rules of casual intimacy: He stood too close, stared too hard, touched too much and long. And women adored him for it” (36).
Along with the charm Holmes was able to persuade the people that he had not met before to believe that he was someone he truly was not. “He introduced himself as Henry Gordon and told Oker he was in the real estate business” (243). “[H]is clothing and behavior suggested financial well-being” (244). Though he was able to hide who he truly was inside, his ability to manipulate women was outrageous.
Anna, Minnie’s sister, visited her and Holmes. Holmes showing Anna around the city stopped at his office where he was able to victimize her. No one would have ever thought that he, Holmes, Minnie’s charming husband would do such thing; even Anna. “She guessed that Harry, unaware of her plight, had gone elsewhere in the building” (295).
Though Anna was definitely not the first she was not the last victim of Holmes, “he admitted to killing twenty-seven people” (385). Looking at Holmes one would not expect for him to have despair within him, and do what he did; sure enough he was more than capable of doing it. “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” (after xi). As Holmes’s individuality began to show, people were seeing him for who he truly was. “[T]he most dangerous man in the world. The jury found him guilty; the judge sentenced him to death by hanging” (385).
Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.