The Devil In The White City Figurative Language

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The juxtaposition of two opposing stories is enough to get anyone’s head spinning. Comparing the glamorous production of the Chicago World Fair to the ominous destruction and killing caused by H.H. Holmes in the background is all the more interesting. Erik Larson’s 2003 nonfiction novel does just that. One would never think to relate murder to art until after reading this book. In The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson uses figurative language, imagery, and juxtaposition to create a vivid illustration of the contrast between good and evil in Chicago in 1893. Larson uses figurative language to intensify the tone and inflict positive or negative feelings upon the reader. Larson describes the crushing devastation that accompanies Chicago’s trailing in votes for the opportunity to host the World Fair as “heavy and chill” (17). The metaphor comparing the city’s literal…show more content…
In regards to the fair’s construction site, Larson describes the air as “[smelling] of cut wood and Christmas” (145). The image created by this is that of Christmas and winter time when trees are being picked out, but in this situation, the diction is being used to describe a construction site. Construction is usually viewed as something negative, but with Larson’s word choice, it creates an image of an optimistic, jolly atmosphere. Most people are anxious towards Christmas, and the writer uses imagery to inflict the same excitement towards the building project. When describing the magnificence of the fair, Larson compares it to a “full blown rose” thereby bringing that image to the reader’s mind (239). Larson’s imagery imposes a calming tone upon the reader as well as relating the rose to the fair’s progress. Larson’s purpose for this sentence is to attract the reader to the image of the fair and understand why others are drawn toward it as well, and it is successful in doing
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