What is the picture of late 19 century America that emerges from Devil in the White City? How is that time both like and unlike modern America? Please help me with this queastion i WILL really...

What is the picture of late 19 century America that emerges from Devil in the White City?

How is that time both like and unlike modern America? Please help me with this queastion i WILL really appreciate it!!!

THANKS SO MUCH

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Larson's Devil in the White City features an America that is still struggling to present herself as cultured and beautiful to the rest of the world.  While Devil focuses specifically on Chicago, the city is representative of the hard-working, rough nature of industrialized 19th century America.  The fair is Chicago's and America's opportunity to portray themselves in a different light, one hopefully much different than the seedy slaughterhouse view that most held of Chicago at the time.  Some of the positives that the book does reveal about late 19th century America are the ability of people to transform themselves, the ingenuity of the country (as seen in the advances in architecture made during the city's preparation), and the national spirit that still existed.

Similarities between Larson's America and modern-day America: America's love for technology and building "big," the ability of a city to swallow up newcomers, and individuals creating new personas for themselves (this is especially easy in today's America with the popularity of identity theft.

Differences between then and now: With the glut of access to television, movies, and the Internet, Americans from rural areas of the country should not be so naive in moving to large cities (though some obviously still are).  The fair no longer plays a vital role in American culture and society.  Massive conventions and televised announcement from tech giants have taken the place of the fair to reveal new gadgets and technology. Finally, the America of Larson's time had not yet proved itself in World War 2, but today's America is expected by many other countries to provided security and the biggest and newest of almost everything.

Read the study guide:
The Devil in the White City

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