The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson Dialectical Journals Textual Evidence Commentary 1. ) 1. ) "He hid his most favored treasures in small boxes, among them his first extracted tooth and a photograph of his "twelve-year-old sweetheart," although later observers speculated these boxes also contained treasures of a more macabre sort, such as the skulls of small animals that he disabled and then dissected, alive, in the woods around Gilmanton." (pg. 39).
(D) This passage is what sets off H. H. Holmes as a killer from a very young age. Larson chooses to include this description of him in order to give the reader some background information about him and how he came to be one of the most well-known murderers of his time. Larson does not include why Holmes decided to disable animals at such a young age, leaving it up to the reader to make the connection between a famous killer and his young self that dissected animals. In the future, he upgraded from animals to humans.
(I) The imagery in this passage is very vivid, for Larson uses descriptive words to illustrate the kind of treasures Holmes kept in his boxes. These images contribute to the fact that Holmes had killer qualities from a young age.
(DL) The diction in this passage is used to portray the peculiar and alarming personality of Holmes. Words such as "skulls" and "dissected" contribute to the overall eerie mood. The language in this passage shows how some people are born with certain personalities that cannot be interfered with, for a human's personality can never be permanently changed. People are born as who they are, and there is no changing that. The language in this passage is formal and simple, for it is only describing the strangeness of Holmes as a child.
(S) The writing in this passage flows well, and the sentences pour into one another. This sentence structure causes the reader to understand the type of person Holmes was. The emotional impression that the sentences leave is creating a curious audience who wants to find out more about such an interesting child.
Larson argues here that a murderer usually is born to be a murderer from the start and will have strange qualities at a young age that only killers would possess.
2. ) "'I was born with the devil in me,'" he wrote. "I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing." (pg. 109).
(D) This passage describes Holmes who considers himself the devil. Larson chooses to include this in order to give the reader a glimpse into Holmes's mind, and how he could be seen as psychotic. Larson does not include why Holmes considers himself the devil, for it is to be assumed by the reader that it is because of his devilish acts of murder.
(I) The imagery in this excerpt is very prominent in one's mind. It depicts the image of Holmes as a crazy, yet seemingly charming and normal man on the outside, also the reason why he was able to get away with murder for so long. Hol...