THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE In what way is the entire Fair an example of the power of human ingenuity, of the ability to realize the dreams of imagination?
In his speech before his wheel took on its first passengers, George Ferris " happily assured the audience that the man condemned for having "wheels in his head" had gotten them out of his head and into the heart of the Midway Plaisance" (p.279)
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The Devil in the White City is several things--and one of them is a tribute to the very thing you mention. The White City--arguably the grandest World's Fair ever created--is a creation envisioned by one man who had a vision. To make his dream come to life, of course, Burnam had to overcome every conceivable obstacle: the Paris fair was extraordinary (particularly the Eiffel Tower) and the pressure was on America to surpass that feat; Chicago was still almost a frontier town, full of crime and dirt and WINTER; his partner died in the midst of the construction; the site was not conducive to such a grand project...and the list goes on.
Despite all that, it was an event like no other. So many advancements came from this endeavor, the most notable of which were the extraordinary use of electricity and the very first Ferris wheel--oh yeah, and the food!
It took diplomacy and coercion and inspiration to make this happen; however, it was primarily the vision and ambition of one man--who then sold that vision and opportunity to other visionaries--which got this mission accomplished. The "dreamers" didn't look nearly so crazy after their dreams came to life on the world's stage.
I give Holmes only a note in passing here. He, too, was a man of ingenuity and ambition--of the darkest and most sordid kind. His scheming and planning and murdering were beyond the scope--and morality--of most men. His ingenuity and ambition were noteworthy but in no way worthy of emulation.
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