The Devil in the White City

by Erik Larson

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In "The Devil in the White City," how does technology fail to challenge Holmes' psychopathology?

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The Devil in the White City certainly presents an ironic juxtaposition of the best and worst mankind has to offer nearly side by side at the World's Fair in Chicago. It is ironic that the Fair celebrates the most advanced technologies in the world, yet none of them were able to prevent or even discover the horrific murders committed by Dr. Holmes until late in his killing spree. In fact, the murderer's use of technology in many ways rivaled that which was exhibited at the Fair. His experiments with death and dying were technology used for nefarious purposes, but they were certainly effective. Today, of course, technology would probably have caught and convicted Holmes much earlier in his homicidal activity. "To what extent" is always difficult to measure; however, it is clear that technology was unable to challenge Holmes in a timely fashion, though it was used to eventually expose his heinous acts.

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