Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

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).

Work Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.


Group Castings

On Wednesday, April 19 we were put into groups to make a final decision on who we felt the additional cast should be for the making of The Devil In The White City. As a group we decided to focus on Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Burnham, John Root, Minnie Williams, Emaline Cigrand, and George Washington Gale Ferris.

For the first casting, Leonardo DiCaprio should play the role of H.H. Holmes. Holmes have this charming demeanor and so does DiCaprio, “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). Not only is DiCaprio charming and fits that description he is captivating as well. With that being said, DiCaprio would be the perfect fit for this role.

Daniel Burnham should be played by Matt Bomer. Matt Bomer fits the description of Burnham fairly well. Burnham is the lead, and most famous architect in Chicago. “Burham was handsome, tall, and strong, with vivid blue eyes, all of which drew clients and friends to him the way a lens gathers light” (26). Bomer of which fits that description to a T. On page 26 it states that, “[H]is greatest strength lay in his ability to win clients”. Not only does he fit the description, but he is able to do that as well making him a great fit for this role.

As for John Root, Gerard Butler should be casted for this role. Though Butler does not have pale or white skin, he does have muscular arms; as well as Root (20). Much like Burnham he, Root, was attractive and would become a successful business man throughout Chicago. Butler is able to handle tough situations and we felt like he would play this role greatly.

Minnie Williams should be played by Lily Collins. “[S]he was plain, short, and plump, her weight somewhere between 140 and 150. She had a masculine nose, thick dark eyebrows, and virtually no neck. Her expression was bland, her cheeks full-“a baby face,” as one witness put it. “She didn’t seem to know a great deal.””  (200). Though Collins is not able to fit the whole description of Williams, she does most of it.

Moving along to Emeline Cigrand, she should be played by Rachel McAdams. Cigrand was, “[I]ndeed lovely, with luminous blond hair” (163). As well as McAdams. In all of the movies that McAdams have been casted in she was attracted to people that she were either told not to talk to, or looked down upon. That was what Cigrand did as well. Cigrand became involved with Holmes and Ned recalled, “I told her I thought he was a bad lot and that she had better have little to do with him and  get away from him as soon as possible” (164). Cigrand did not listen, as well as McAdams in the other movies she has been casted in, therefore we believed that McAdams would play this role fairly well.

Finally, George Washington Gale Ferris should be played by Tom Selleck. “He had an angular face, black hair, a black mustache, and dark eyes, the kind of looks soon to be covered by an industry that Thomas Edison was just then brining to life” (155). “In all gatherings he at once became the center of attraction, having a ready command of language and a constant fund of amusing anecdotes and experiences” (155). Selleck fits this description well. He has this mischievous look to him, and for the description of Ferris I feel as though he is mischievous as well.

We picked our casting choices mainly on the description of these characters. Though there are many different actors/actresses we felt that the ones we chose were the best. Not only would they look the part, we felt that they would be able to play the part as well; if not they can surely bring in different ideas on how to play the role more seemingly.

Who Should Be Casted for The Devil in the White City

Erik Larson’s book, The Devil In The White City, is in the process of becoming a film processed by Paramount, directed by Martin Scorsese.

Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing the role as H.H. Holmes, a serial killer in Chicago.images
Larson’s description of Holmes is very captivating, “He had dark hair and striking blue eyes, once likened to the eyes of a Mesmerist“ (35). Throughout all of the films that DiCaprio had starred in, he has been able to charm women just like Holmes,  “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). DiCaprio has this demeanor of being able to play very charming and irresistible roles fairly well and he would be the perfect fit for H.H. Holmes.

As for the next cast, Daniel Burnham should be played by Jamie Dornan. Daniel
nrm_1421024073-elle-jamie-dornanBurnham is the lead, and most famous, architect in Chicago. Burnham had a huge part of the architectural buildings throughout Chicago, “[H]is greatest strength lay in his ability to win clients and execute Root’s elegant designs” (26) “Burnham was handsome, tall, and strong, with vivid blue eyes, all of which drew clients and friends to him the way a lens gathers light” (26). Dornan has played in Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shade Darker. Though his role in those two movies did not include any architectural matter he was still able to win over Dakota Johnson with his charm and smooth words, just like Burnham did with his clients and eventually Margaret.

With that being said Margaret Sherman, Burnham’s wife, should be played by Rachel
McAdams. In all the films that McAdams have played in; MV5BMTY5ODcxMDU4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjAzNjQyNQ@@._V1_UY317_CR2,0,214,317_AL_The Notebook, The Vow, South Paw, she was always very determined to be close to the one that she loved. According to Larson, Margaret was very determined as well, “She was young, pretty, and blond and visited often, using as her excuse the fact that her friend Della Otis lived across the street” (21).

Though it is not set in stone for the rest of the cast, DiCaprio playing as Holmes was a great choice. Not only for the characteristic side, but also for the fact that having DiCaprio play in the role as a serial killer it would get people’s attention; therefore it could possibly make this a top watched movie.

Work Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City. Vintage, 2004.

R. Dwayne Betts Overcoming Stereotypes

R. Dwayne Betts’ memoir A Question of Freedom opens with the sixteen year old, Betts, on his way to the Fairfax County jail. As an honor student no one would have ever guessed to IMG_0893 rdbput his face with the crime that was committed. Betts thinking to himself, “ Thirty minutes changed my life. It took less than thirty minutes for me to find the sleeping man in his car, and it took less than thirty minutes for me to get to jail “ (7). Nearly nine years in jail Betts is living proof that no matter what happened to you in the past, if you are part of a statistic, or if you were never supposed to be “that kid”; through your strength and determination you can still turn your life around.

Betts stated, “ I ignored everyone who tried to warn me away from the streets. If I stood on corners but didn’t sell crack I’d be okay. If I smoke weed but did well in school I’d be okay “ (10). While in the moment of finding one to carjack Betts looked for someone other than his skin color. When trying to escape the inevitable event that occurred he asked a man where the nearest train station was; instead of being directed there he fell into the arms of twenty police officers. Betts stated, “ Before prison, my father got judged by his absence. It was almost the way the judge judged me “ (11).

While being “ shuffled between a county jail, a prison intake center and three prisons” (184) Betts experienced and saw many things that were more or less unsettling. Chapter ten, “Joseph’s Hand”, opens with “ One moment you could be the quiet person who sits in the corner minding your business, and the next you can be someone’s idea of a victim “ (62). A prime example of this is chapter thirty page 200, Betts wrote:

One night, while I was on the corner by the showers talking to some dudes, a kid named Danger ran into an old white man’s cell and started stabbing him. Danger used a makeshift knife that probably didn’t even hurt the man. The craziest part was that the CO saw it and didn’t say a word. I walked away, forgetting what I saw with each step. After that the block went on lockdown, but just like every other day I had our lights on at six.

Although there were many unsettling events that Betts encountered the one that impacted him the most was when he was getting admitted into prison at Red Onion. On page 176 Betts states that:

It wasn’t that they told me to strip naked… I knew three or four of the hefty white boys with uniforms would storm in at my first hesitation. My bloodshot eyes registered nothing as I was strip-searched, when I squatted, coughed and lifted my feet to be checked. I had nothing but anger to throw at the indignity of opening my mouth and squatting as fifteen people stared at my nakedness with indifference and fascination. Red Onion forced me to consider how I’d handle the weight of a jail cell and the memory of the woman holding the camera and the grinning white faces who said, “Strip.”

After nearly nine years in prison the only thing that kept Betts sane was education, specifically reading, and working out. Though being in jail was never ideal, he still continued his education and was able to obtain a high school diploma. In the middle of page 57 it reads, “ I pressed the diploma against the glass… I was sixteen when I received the diploma. People were surprised to see pictures of me posing in a burgundy graduation gown against a whitewashed brick wall.” While going through prison he faced many obstacles, but the one thing that did become clear to him is that he wanted to become a poet. He wanted to become a poet after reading The Black Poets by Dudley Randall. On page 166 Betts states, “ I decided I was going to be a poet then, in solitary cell… I started writing poems to Sonia Sanchez that I didn’t expect anyone to read or care about. I wanted to capture a feeling that would make a one-man cell manageable, and sometimes now I crave for the feeling I had then.”

Looking at Betts now an individual would not have expected him to have gone through what he did. In the Epilogue, Betts states that his wife told him, “ [S]he never expected to be involved with someone who’d been to prison.” Betts himself states, “ My life has been built into moments of hoping people will judge me by my character and not my past “ (234). After a few months out of prison Betts was offered an internship at the Atlantic; while being concerned if his past would have effected him in his future work he still applied and was granted the internship.

Work Cited

Betts, R. Dwayne. A Question of Freedom. Avery, 2009

Wonder of the World


The play Wonder of the World by David Lindsay- Abaire opens up with Kip Harris, Cass Harris’ husband, going home for lunch; just to find out that Cass is preparing to leave him. Both Kip and Cass are in their thirties. When coming home to such unexpectedness Kip shows great concern as to why she was leaving him. He asks, “Is this about what I told you last night?” (1.1) Trying to conceive the truth was hard when Cass had such an unstable husband; making her tell the truth that, yes it is because of what he told her last night. Trying to find herself again she leaves him and is headed to Niagara Falls. She meets people she would have never imagined meeting, putting her in an inevitable situation which later makes everything a coincidence.

On the way to Niagara Falls Cass finds herself an alcoholic, barreling having, sidekick. A sidekick in which Cass finds that she, Lois, is planning to go over the falls because her husband left her. With Lois not showing much interest as to why Cass left her husband, Cass proceeds to tell her that she left “for very mysterious reasons.” (1.2) Lois then tells Cass the she was abandoned, “I came home to an empty house and a note which said I was a bad person because I drank too much and crashed cars.” (1.2)

Upon arriving Niagara Falls Cass meets Captain Mike, who she is extremely fond of and, Karla and Glen, private investigators, who were hired by Kip to search for Cass. She learns that Captain Mike was married to a woman named Dinah. Captain Mike loved the idea of shopping at Costco whereas Dinah “thought it was silly. Said the food was just too darn big.” (1.6) He comes home to find that the thing he loved killed the one person he loved most.

At the end of act one scene seven Lois learns that Karla and Glen are private investigators. In scene nine Lois told Cass that they were private investigators and that her “freaky husband is coming to talk things over.” Rushing to leave Cass finds herself in a situation in which soon becomes inevitable.

The inevitable situation that all the casts are in is act two scene three. This is when all of the cast are in a group therapy, lead by Jaine. Jaine asks the group a series of question, and this is also when Lois finds out that Jaine has her watch that she dropped. In the mist of this group therapy Kip was fed up with the fact that Cass would not go home, so he pulls out a gun to threaten Cass, Captain Mike had enough of the nonsense, grabs the gun, and is getting ready to put it into his jacket. All of a sudden the door swings open, hitting his arm causing the gun to go off. Captain Mike shot himself, but only because Karla came back in. Among all the things that were said and happened in the duration of this act, the one thing that tied everyone together was when Glen said, “Geez Karla, first the peanut butter murder and now this.” As Captain Mike was dying he hears Glen saying that, making everything and everyone come together; making it a coincidence that someway somehow everyone was tied together.                 

Work Cited

Lindsay-Abaire, David. Wonder of the World. Dramatists Play Service. 2003.

About Me

Hi! My name is Kang Yang. I was born on August 28, 1998 in Statesville, North Carolina. I come from baby1.jpga big family, a VERY big family as a matter of fact. I have four sisters and three brothers all of which are older than me, meaning that yes, I am the “baby.” I was the only one to be born in North Carolina; whereas the rest of my siblings were born in California, except my oldest sister, Sheng, she was born in Thailand. (one of my sisters is not pictured)


Both of my parents were not as privileged as I am today, so unfortunately they were not able to get an education here in the United States. They too were born in Thailand and in September of 1987 that was when they decided to come into the United States.  Out of all my siblings I have two sisters that are graduated from college, and one that is currently at Campbell University for Pharmacy school. Prior to coming here at Lenoir-Rhyne I was going in for Nursing school, and as of right now I am a little unsure if I will continue down that path or not. screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-12-21-40-pmscreen-shot-2017-02-01-at-12-22-19-pm

While being here at Lenoir-Rhyne I was a cheerleader for football season and some of basketball. I started cheering in the 7th grade and continued since then. Unfortunately, I decided to stop cheering for the second semester so I could focus on my education. Cheering has been such a passion of mine, so me quitting cheer was a very tough and hard decision to make. Although I decided to not continue cheering anymore, it is something that I will always love. Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 12.13.54 PM.png