In the book Chicago is kind of like these two separate cities: one city overflows with grand architecture and cultured intelligence, while the other city that houses the meatpacking plants, the murder, and the mystery flows beneath it like a subterranean river. I think this duality of character is what makes Chicago so intriguing even to this day. I’ve only visited the city a few times, but when I was there I too couldn't help but notice the two beasts of the city swirling around. The more opulent of the city’s characters was obvious as I observed the towering buildings encased in glass and the streets that exuded culture and excitement. But the grimier nature of the city was still present in the flocks of homeless, the aura of crime, and just how anxious and suffocating downtown felt.The opposite natures of Chicago too flows within the book. Larson illustrates this perfectly by providing a rich narration of each; the splendor of the World’s Fair lies on one side and the murderous H.H. Holmes sits opposite. Consequently, these two narrations are in balance: each is equally complex and the essence of the city presented in both narrations is intriguing in and of itself. But what Larson does beautifully is show the battle between the two characters and how each seems to be battling for control of the city’s image. Yet the most intriguing thing about Chicago as a whole is how it seems this feud -- in both the novel and the modern city -- will end in a decisive stalemate.
I agree with what Alyssa and Chris have both said. I feel like that, although it has really advanced and grown throughout time, Chicago’s basic style has stayed the same. Chicago appears to be a great city on the outside; wonderful buildings, great views, and bustling businesses. However, if you took a deeper look into it, you’ll see all of the grime and crime found underneath all that greatness. This held true for me one of the last times I went there. We had went through this really nice and big suburb of Chicago to get to the “center” of Chicago. My family and I saw Lake Michigan and we drove around that nice area of Chicago for a bit. It was really awesome, and it was pretty much a great experience. However, on our way back, we had to pass through one of the less-pleasing areas. It was pretty scary. One thought that really stands out was this white jeep that sped past us in the wrong lane, while going really fast. It was definitely a dangerous situation, and it just goes to show what a variety of life Chicago holds. Erik Larson seems to describe Chicago in a similar way. This can easily be seen by the fact that he has two main plots; one plot about the great Chicago Fair, and the other plot about the crime that takes place beside the great Fair. This really holds true for Chicago, because right next to the tall, sparkly skyscrapers are many people who are struggling to survive. This night and day difference in the lifestyle of Chicago has always been there, and Erik Larson really stresses that characteristic in his book.
Chicago is a large city full of tall buildings. Just like all other cities it has both intriguing and negative aspects. Chicago has many zoos, museums and restaurants. These are interesting and make the city seem amazing to a visitor. However, to a person who has lived there, as I have, the city quickly loses its wonder. Chicago is overall just like any other city. To a young child the wonder wears off more slowly, but it still wears off. When I was younger I moved a lot. This gave me a unique view point. I had seen many other towns and cities already so I to me it was just like any other town I had ever lived in, just a little bigger.Larson describes Chicago in a similar way. There is the side of Chicago that is amazing with newly made tall buildings. The architecture is unmatched everywhere with the exception of New York. The culture is rich and full. On the other hand though, there is a high crime rate and the smell of the city is atrocious. On every street corner there is a homeless person or someone in need of work. That aspect of the city hasn’t changed. There are many people who are poor and homeless. Their crime rate is also extremely high in the south side. Both the past and present versions of Chicago are strikingly similar. The city hasn’t really changed other than the addition of more tall buildings.
Chicago seems to have always been a place of interest. I think that what intrigues so many people since the 1800s has been its size and architecture. As described by Larson, Burnham & Root, along with other architects, led to Chicago being a leader in architectural concepts found in modern cities. In the past, the development of having taller and taller buildings would have been an amazing site, especially since most buildings were only one or two stories tall at the time. The same can be said today. Although Chicago isn't the tallest city in the world, it is still one of the tallest in the Midwest and is just differently designed than most cities. When I get interested in Chicago it is skyline and height that tend to come to mind. The people of Chicago are also interesting. Like the 1800s, people from all over migrate to the city and become a part of it. Also like the 1800s, some people of Chicago are very wealthy and successful while others are just able to get by. In the past and in today's world the city has been a haven for crime and poverty. Today the city suffers from a high mortality rate in crimes involving gun violence and other factors. In the book, Larson shows the crime life by depicting H. H. Holmes and his methods. In both time periods, although the way the crimes are committed the existence of cheating and murder are present. The way Larson is able to depict both the crime lifestyle and the architectural advancement allow an inside view of the many aspects found in Chicago in the 1890s and let twenty-first century be able to compare the then with the now.
I've been to Chicago many times but I honestly haven’t seen very much of the city because I've only really been to Wrigley field for Cubs games. However, from what I have seen, my main impression of Chicago is its size and massive population. I've lived in Dubuque my whole life, so the largeness of Chicago was kind of overwhelming to me. Like Alyssa, I felt like it would be really easy to get lost. I was also struck by the amount of cultural diversity in the city as compared to what I’m used to in Dubuque. It’s a neat city, with neat people, a neat history, and it seems like there’s a lot to do there. I’ve personally never gotten the impression that Chicago is this scary, dangerous city fraught with crime, but I’ve also never been any in bad neighborhoods there at night, so it’s possible that my experience is just incomplete.The Chicago that Larson describes is one of conflict between two different worlds. The juxtaposition of the creative nature of architecture next to the destructive nature of H. H. Holmes shows the contrast between Chicago’s rich, cultural vibrancy and the horrors that lurk within it. Larson also portrays Chicago as a city with something to prove. He shows it as it strives to shrug off its reputation as a Midwestern, culturally inept, slaughterhouse and show the world that it too has something to offer. I think this struggle of Chicago to be seen as an artistically and intellectually important city continues, in some form, to this day.
For me, Chicago is like an everlasting passionate relationship which differs greatly from the typical human relationships that are eventually drained of all their energy as they evolve. I used to dream about living there after visiting so many times on the weekends. But now, after getting caught in Erik Larson’s beautifully tragic descriptions that reaffirmed my deep seated love for Chicago I want to preserve it. For this reason, I’m quite glad I don’t live there because, after all, it would only lead to disappointment. I never want the feeling I get from the visage of Chicago with bustling herds of people crammed on the streets, the breathtaking sight of buildings towering overhead, and the sound of a million ambulances all screaming at once to ever fade to just any other too familiar feeling. Now despite everything sane, I think Chicago needs me as much I crave Chicago. While the architecture defines it's beauty, the people are what constitute it’s culture, this fact remaining the same throughout the centuries. When I look out the window of my hotel room and rest my eyes upon the glistening headlights and the people behind the dimmed rows of windows in wonder, I’m a corner too far away to witness the knife stab the flesh, the blood stain the ground and the wallet get shoved so shamelessly into an alien pocket. All the murder and wickedness is so insidious in such a big city, that most people remain oblivious to it. However, in The Devil in the White City, that parallel between the gleaming fancy of the city and the destructive devil, so to speak, that resides under the surface is brought into the light. Larson epitomizes Chicago’s magnificence through the construction of the World’s Fair and uses the brutal tactics of the infamous doctor H.H. Holmes as a microcosm for the more widespread evil lurking within the city’s walls. Although the city Larson so deeply delves into was just a filthy avenue lined with meatpacking plants and was only primitive in function at the turn of the century, its apparent potential allowed for the erection of the White City which marked it’s crossroad to modernity.
Chicago started out like every other city; a pile of bricks and a dream. Unfortunately, somewhere in the process of giving life to that dream society went wrong. The dream of a large, success-filled city became an impossible nightmare, except it is impossible to sleep in Chicago do to the noise and lights.In the book, Chicago is still becoming what it is now known as. It is still considered to be "The White City." Chicago is still full of potential and draws hundreds of thousands of people into its limits. At the time the book takes place, Chicago is a place of new beginnings and hope.Now, it is a place of despair and regret. However, for some individuals Chicago still holds an aspect of success. Even if that aspect is simply a shadow of a past that has long since been dead, Chicago continues to draw more and more people into its pollution filled boundaries.Chicago itself is a city full of people and lights, but there is no darker city in America. Its streets are filled with crime and poverty. Its tall skyscrapers and noisy traffic pollute the air and sky. Stars can't be seen during even the clearest of nights. It is a place of no hope and no future.
A couple years ago I visited Chicago with a friend of mine. At the time I had never been to such a big city. It was fascinating to see a city overflowed with so many people and different cultures blended together. Among the variety of people, Chicago was filled with soaring buildings, bright lights, and an assortment of attractions. It seemed so easy to become lured into the hustle and bustle of the city. I think one of the things that seemed the most intriguing about Chicago is the idea of never being able to run out of things to do. After my few days were up in Chicago it seemed like I was only just beginning to explore the city. In The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson describes Chicago as a city with two-faces. Larson portrays one side of the city as being very grand and extravagant. He also explains how the city had a sense of darkness and danger. Just like people enjoy watching horror movies, I think that the aspect of fear also plays into how people become intrigued with Chicago.
Chicago both now and in 1900 is an intriguing city. The tall buildings, the busy streets, and the lakefront are all aspects of the glam and the excitement of the city. However, these aren't the only factors which draw people in. Chicago is known just as well for its crime, murder, and grit. Being that my dad lives in The Windy City, I have visited many times and have experienced all of Chicago's attractions. For example, my most recent trip to Chicago. One minute I was walking on State Street, baffled by the luxurious stores, the next I was waiting for the subway in the smelly underground. The city itself is a beautiful place filled with excitement, but a look down the wrong alley can mix these emotions.Larson describes Chicago similarly, by remarking on its architecture achievements and pursuing it as a city on the rise, but he doesn't ignore the sanitation and sewer problems. Larson also creates the two different worlds which exist in the city-one of opportunity and adventure while the other is filled with crime and disgust. This proves to be true today, that Chicago is a city with underlying meaning. However, what city isn't?
I've been to Chicago only a couple times. Most recently, I went to see a Hawkeye football game with my sister, Wendi, and my sisters fiance Tim. Since this was really the only time I had actually wandered the streets of Chicago it left quite the impression. I'm a small town guy. The largest city I had walked the streets of prior to this visit was Iowa City (while actually being old enough to understand the dangers of big cities). You can imagine I was in awe. The buildings were huge and magnificent; life was everywhere with the hustle and bustle of Chicago. I was almost scared just from how small I felt among the skyscrapers. Then there was that dark side that Larson describes in Chicago. Now I didn't get mugged or see some one shot but I did see misery. I caught a glimpse of the run-down side of Chicago. I saw homeless people for the first time in my life. However this idea that misery and danger live side-by-side with the grandeur and excitement boggles the mind. It adds to the intrigue. Just as the idea of the dangers alone add to the intrigue. It's like when you almost get hit by a car, or almost fall down some stairs. You avoided disaster by a hair and it gives you a rush. Chicago instills that feeling all the time. People want that rush, and Chicago gives it to them.
I've visited Chicago a few times. Most of the time I was just going to the airport, but I've been there a couple times with French club and once with a friend. Like Rachel, I never really got the impression that there was a lot of bad stuff going on, but I haven't really seen enough of it to know and have a solid opinion. The thing about it that struck me the most was the amount of activity. There was constantly so many things going on all around you, it was impossible to take in. I personally hate that feeling of constant motion surrounding you 24/7. Even when I was sleeping in the hotel there was a lot of noise and things going on outside. Even though I didn't like it there I don't necessarily see it as a bad place. From what I've read in Devil, though, and the inherent nature of big cities, it's easy for me to see how there could be some really horrible things going on. It's just so easy for everything to become meshed together and for something to go by unnoticed. I'm actually pretty glad that I haven't explored Chicago more thoroughly. I think that I wouldn't like a lot of what I found if I dug deeper.
Chicago has always been a city that has intrigued people because of it’s mystery and beauty. Throughout it’s history Chicago has been a destination for people looking for a new start but still being able to hold on to the traditional family values that have always characterized the Midwest. The beauty of Chicago is not only the cityscape that it is famous for but also the fact that you can have it all. The mystery that Chicago has always contained is that on one side you can have the true beauty and on the other side the city also contains a lot of ugly. There has always been a lot of crime and the city is rather dirty because of how industrialized it is. The crime is apart of the mystery because it straddles both the beauty and the ugly. Crime is ugly when lives have to be taken but it’s beautiful because a lot of times it’s another way to express family values. That is to always protect your family. Larson characterizes the connection between the beauty and the mystery. Larson perfectly depicts the fact that in Chicago these two are interconnected and in some ways are the same. He explains how even when it was just becoming what it is today it was a haven for the two and the city grew up around this fact. I have visited Chicago a few times and I have seen the beauty and have heard of the mystery. The cityscape is breathtaking and the culture that has sprung up from the family values is unique. It is the type of culture that is prideful of it’s good and it’s bad. Chicago will always boast about it’s winning team and it will always defend it’s high crime rate.
Chicago has forever been seen as a place of wonder since its crude beginnings. Chicago's wondrous attractions can be attributed to its ever growing population. Chicago suffered tremendous damage in the Great Fire of 1871 and has really been rebuilding ever since. Chicago's elaborate architecture has been an important aspect of its identity since Daniel Burnham and John Root helped rebuild it after that tragic fire that left over 100,000 people homeless. People are lured into Chicago by the beauty of its large buildings and it modernity. You can't help but fall victim to the mysterious allure that Chicago has. Chicago was, is, and always will be a place of hope and freedom. Chicago is a representation of the American Dream. That's why so many people have moved there in the past and that's why many live there today. Chicago is the melting pot of the Midwest and will always be very diverse. Even though Chicago is known for its wondrous structures, it's also known for its poverty and crime. I've never really been to Chicago and if I have been, I was too young to remember being there. I couldn't give you as good of a description of Chicago as those that actually had been there, but I've heard many things about Chicago. To me Chicago seems like a haven for crime and poverty. Even though Chicago has plenty of beautiful attractions and enormous skyscrapers, that doesn't eliminate all that I've heard about gangs and homeless people in Chicago. Like Austin said earlier, the run-down side of Chicago is just as eye-catching as the modern, attractive part of Chicago. Poverty and murder can be found just around the corner of these skyscrapers which is a frightening idea. Erik Larson brings Chicago to life in The Devil in the White City. He juxtaposes the lives of world famous architects Daniel Burnham and John Root with that of the life of the inexorable murderer, H.H. Holmes. Their achievements and accomplishments are shadowed by the treacherous actions of Holmes. Erik Larson's description of Chicago back in the late 1800s parallels what we think of Chicago as today. He shows us how beautiful it is while evil lurks underneath the surface. This seems a lot like Chicago today; many comparisons can be drawn between the two. The wondrous architecture seen in The Devil in the White City will forever be associated with the identity of Chicago.
I really like what Chris said about the two sides of the city of Chicago. I think that he has really nailed the point. Chicago is like two different scenes in one. As a family we travel there fairly often for different things. And as I walk down the Michigan mile not only can you see the large skyscrapers and the immense commerce; but, you can also see the poverty and the police cars signaling crime. This duality I think is what draws people. I mean why else would we put crime shows on TV. It’s interesting because it’s not normal, something totally different for small town people. And the unbelievable architecture also draws people because it is also something they don’t see every day. This draw from both sides, the glamorous and the not, has been there from the very beginning. I think Erik Larson is really able to capture this duality of good and bad in his novel. Not just with H. H. Holmes but also with the despair of the architects and all of their problems. It just shows that Chicago is gorgeous but if you take a good look it isn’t as pretty as it seems. But even then he talks of all the business flow and all the immigrants bustling about the busy streets and it very much so relates to now. The streets are bustling with cars and commerce just like in the 1880s and ‘90s.
The Midwest holds a very innocent stance in all of the United States. However, if there’s one city that exceeds defying this stereotype, it would be Chicago. Because of its rapid growth and influx of migrants, Chicago stays behind and ahead of everyday life. It was one of the first cities to explore skyscrapers and pioneer in the movement away from social norms. Both in the past and present, Chicago has managed to be all of two things: wonderful and frightening. My impressions of Chicago are of immense business and overwhelming diversity. Everyone’s always going, going, going. People have things to do and no time to do it. The city thrives even within the deepest suburbs, as sirens and distant music are ever present. Although Chicago lacks natural components, it has innovated right out of a beautiful body of water, proving the oxymoronic phenomenon of the city. Larson mentions an overbearing stink within the marvels of Chicago. He talks of opportunities through Daniel Burnham’s story and destruction through H.H. Holmes’s story. Crime, poverty, and miserableness live side by side with magnificence, growth, and brilliance. The city is incredible in that it can be two things at once.
I agree with Najeeha. The Midwest is usually thought of as innocent, though Chicago clearly breaks through that barrier. It's a gigantic city, something that holds mystery and wonder. Being from Asbury and venturing into Chicago is such a giant leap. I remember my first time there; I was crossing the street with my mom. Everybody went at once, and really fast. I was almost lost in seconds. The idea that I could disappear that easily made me feel unsafe. Driving through the poverty stricken portion of the city when we got lost made me feel even more curious on how safe this city actually was. The picture I painted in my mind of Chicago was a city of wonder, opportunity, and business; but on the inside, it was that of poverty, crime, and danger. Larson portrays that perfectly in his novel. When speaking about the fair, he only talks about the architecture. He speaks of the beautiful buildings, the city that expanded upwards. He doesn't talk about the struggle of the average Joe. But when speaking about H. H. Holmes, danger becomes clear. A person could vanish in an instant and nobody would know, or question. Both sides of Chicago are revealed within Larson’s text.
I have been a small town boy for my whole life. I've rarely even been out of the state. I will never forget my first trip to the big city. I was in Chicago for my cousin's wedding, an we had a couple hours to kill before the ceremony so me and my dad went and bummed around downtown for a while (no pun intended). I was astounded by the architectural masterpiece that surrounded me. My dad and I have a mutual fascination with this stuff and we had a great time with simple exploration and sight seeing. I felt inspired when I looked up toward the tops if buildings that seemed connected to the sky itself. However, once I looked back down it was easy to point out the signs of suffering that contradicted the semblance of greatness that had previously absorbed me. In one direction there could be a successful businessman who just got off work at a Fortune 500 company where he recently received a promotion and is on his way home to a healthy loving family. But without even turning your head you could see a broken man on the sidewalk whose life lies in shambles and is reduced to begging for mere pocket change, and you can watch as the businessman walks on by with out as much as batting an eye at this decrepit soul. This relates to this dark side of the city that Larson vividly describes. Not only in the sense of the circumstance that this man has succumbed to but also in the way he is rejected by society even though he may not be at fault for his situation. When you actually think about it, the city isn't even a "light side dark side" thing, but just one big mixture of success and failure, accomplished goals and broken dreams that just leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Or maybe that's just the smell...
Chicago is a place that has that high city life feel, but has the benefits of mid western values. I have only visited Chicago once when I went down there to see the museum with some family members. When we drove through the city, I could see why people loved it. The beautiful architecture that Larson details in the book is just as beautiful in real life. There is so many shops and restaurants. I wish we were down there longer. But with the short time I was there, I definitely noticed something else. The city was always moving. I saw people running around everywhere. The city is definitely busy. Chicago reminds me of a smaller scale New York. I have never visited New York myself but when I see movies and hear about other’s experiences there I think of Chicago. New York is filled with lots of people with big dreams. Many people move to New York to find themselves just as a lot of people in the mid west find themselves moving to a bigger city such as Chicago. One thing that comes with moving to a bigger city is the high crime rates. Again, New York is a beautiful city but it has a dark side, just like Chicago. It seems Chicago is a beautiful place until it gets dark. Then going down town is like being in a scary movie. Not sure when will be the next time one gets mugged or shot. Larson clearly tackles these two ideas in the book. Chicago just wants to be the city of dreams and wants things to be expanded onward to the future but the crimes that H.H. Holmes is committing might be holding Chicago back.
Reading these responses, the common theme seems to be the duality of the city: the awesome and striking front displaying immense buildings and complex structures masking the darker, dangerous side. While there is no doubt this theme is valid and portrayed eloquently by Erik Larson in The Devil in the White City, Chicago’s allure has changed with time. In the book, Chicago is portrayed as a living, breathing, growing city: a two-faced monster that would be the death of you if you could not tame it and ride it to the top. Larson is able to trap, with his novel, this force that would change and influence people. Nowadays, Chicago is less fluid; it’s regarded more as a “thing”: seen more and more as simply a destination to visit, a picture to take, or a novelty to collect. I must ask how many of you aspire to move to Chicago, find work, and stake your life there simply because it is Chicago? Sure, there are attractions such as colleges, families, and job opportunities, but how much weight does the name carry in itself?I have visited Chicago a few times, each time as a tourist. I’ve been to the Shedd Aquarium and seen the Cloud Gate; I’ve gone to a concert and walked along the shore of Lake Michigan; all the while playing my part by taking pictures and buying key chains. Yes, I heard sirens and shouts; yes, I acknowledged my fair share of the homeless; but no, this is not what defined the city.The point I am trying to make is that Chicago’s image, and what the city stands for, has changed dramatically since the Gilded Era. The city is no less than it was, but its power has shrunk as the rest of the world has grown. Skyscrapers are not awed, they are accepted; poverty and corruption are not abominations, they are accepted; Chicago is great, but it is not outstanding- it is accepted.
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What intrigues people the most about Chicago is the diversity. With such a huge population, there are different types of people, restaurants, cultures, entertainment, architecture, etc- such a wide range of diversity that can only be found in such an immense city. But as Erik Larson portrays in the novel, the city of Chicago is diverse as a whole. It is a city full of bustling beauty and endless prosperity and opportunity. But it is also a place of darkness, crime, and danger. I think it is this variety of lifestyle that intrigues people- there is something for everyone. I have visited Chicago a few times, and by now I have seen seemingly every aspect of diversity in Chicago. Walking down one street you will see the poor person begging for change, and the rich businessman sporting a suit and tie. Stay awhile and you will see the beautiful and busy hub of the city, the dark and dirty suburbs. These two extremities and everything in between is such a mystery. How can one city hold so much beauty and danger? Since the beginning of the city, people have been asking the same question. Chicago has been a place of extreme diversity since its start. And with so many people and so much going on, it is so easy to get lost in Chicago. One can simply blend in, disappear, and be forgotten. So much goes unnoticed, and that is why it was so easy for H.H. Holmes to commit so many murders there. The craziness that is Chicago is both exciting and dangerous, thus intriguing.
A couple years ago, I visited Chicago with my family. I went when I was only 7 years old and the whole city was so intriguing. With all of the huge buildings and the traffic, it was just chaotic. There were all kinds of different people from all kinds of different backgrounds. There are a lot of sites and attractions that drew our attention right from the start. The whole city together was very overwhelming. Chicago is one of those cities where no matter how many times you visit, there is always going to be something new and different. We ended up in the wrong part of town when we visited and as we were walking down the street, a cop came up to us and simply said that we were in the wrong part of town with kids, and he escorted us to the subway because that part of town was so bad. The Devil in the White City, relates to this because the book describes the city of Chicago as a two-faced city. The character, Erik Larson states that one side of the city is very luxurious with the tall buildings and lots of attractions, while the other side was dangerous and filled with darkness. This related to our trip because we started at the one face, and then ended up in the other. When we pass by the city to other destinations, I always think that it looks the same with the only difference being more buildings and more sign. No matter if it is the present of past, Chicago will always have that touch that comes off as being intriguing.
I go to Chicago with my mom every year for my birthday and I love it. I have to say it is one of my favorite cities. The people are my favorite part. Where else can you walk down the street and see people from all over the world but in a big city such as Chicago? That feeling of wonder as you see all kinds of people doing their daily activities, shopping, and simply living. How often do you get to see something like that? In The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, people are described as naive, evil, or selfish. I don’t agree. People may come from different places and have different experiences but I believe that we should give them more credit than Larson. People are the heart of the city. Even with crimes and poverty on the rise we shouldn’t just jump to the conclusion that people are evil. While I disagree with Larson on most things but one thing I agree with him on is architecture. It allows cities to grow, not only in height but also allows more people to live in them. This creates news opportunities for people from all over the world to come live and interact with each other.I believe that Larson had a pretty good idea of how Chicago worked but assumed too much about people.
When I go to Chicago, it seems to market itself as progressive. It's people are proud of its architecture and especially of its river, of which they've reversed the flow. Every year they dye the river green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Citizens navigate the city via a complex system of public transportation, and bike riding seems to be rising in popularity in recent years. All around there are men and women rushing to white collar jobs, a man going for a jog with his dog. Compared to early Chicago, this present Chicago is much more elegant and refined, as well as safer. Pollution is handled in a much better way, and Chicago has made great strides to combat the poor sanitation that caused widespread illness in the late nineteenth century, developments that Chicagoans take great pride in. I think that the the world fair was definitely the beginning of this process of refinement, even though it played a significant role in mass expansion that Chicago may not have been ready for. It set Chicago on the path to become a largely innovative place for developing better, smarter, more beautiful infrastructure.
A couple of years back, I had the experience of visiting the bustling city of Chicago, a place aptly named the Windy City due to the ever persistent (and ever annoying) breeze that filters through the city and the large amount of hot air that escapes from a local’s mouth. Most of the residents of Chicago will take great pleasure in talking your ear off about how great their city is, while also bluntly managing to put your city down in the process. Chicago carries an excess of many things, and an abundance of anything else that could cross your mind, but city pride is easily the most voluminous item in Chicago. From the knowledge laden halls of the Museum of Science and Industry to the soaring heights of the Sears Tower to the submarine depths of the Shed Aquarium, the city easily displays the most pride out of anywhere in the Midwest. Even the fact that they’re home to the Chicago Cubs doesn’t dampen their spirits. Baseball loyalties aside, the city of Chicago is a wildly captivating place, but every bright light casts a shadow. There are parts of Chicago that one simply does not go. Gang violence is notorious in some areas of Chicago, and one wrong turn can put you in the middle of a slum. This same duality is represented within Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City. Burnham’s tale is one of entrepreneurship and achievement, and he represents the city’s sense of pride and accomplishment. However, Burnham’s Chicago is far from some picturesque utopia. Instead, Burnham’s Chicago is filled with choices, trials, and a generous helping of hard work. In short, Burnham will set down his champagne glass to find himself confronted with a sketchpad and a contract. Meanwhile, Holmes’ Chicago is significantly darker, showing the side of Chicago that many try to keep hidden. This is the side of Chicago that is full of facades and illusions, the side that tries hopelessly to mimic the grandeur of Burnham’s Chicago. When it fails, when Holmes’ charming smile no longer works, the darker part of Chicago strikes back. It strikes back through murder and deceit, destroying lives and ambitions before putting its pleasant façade back into place. As a result, Chicago’s two unique sides are portrayed as not only as being polar opposites, but also as having their apparent similarities. Chicago’s two sides are best portrayed by the following. One can walk around one place during the day and see exactly what makes Chicago beautiful. One can then walk that same area during that night and watch the beauty slowly fade away, revealing a place that is a far cry from what the city prides itself on.
Chicago is a city of true intigue. With its magnitude of buildings, its number of people, and the amount of noise, it can be easy for someone to feel "lost". Personally, i have gone there on many different occasions for vacations with family and friends. From what I have read so far, a lot of us agree the Chicago has two sides to its image. In one way, you could see the glorious city with its tall buildings and mixed cultures. But at the same time you could experience the darker side of Chicago with its crime, and death. I believe this is what Larson was thinking at the time he wrote The Devil in the White City. He wanted to show us the dark secets that hide in the dark allies of such a bright and prosperous city. As for the midwest, we have been given a very sterotypical look of farming as our all time favorite activity. Some dont understand that as midwesterners, we are as normal as normal can be.
I believe I have been to Chicago for sure once, maybe twice. That being said, I was also about nine, so my memory of it isn't exactly crystal clear. What I do remember is that the city was just big. Everything there was huge. The buildings towered over me, the streets were packed with traffic, and the pigeons on the sidewalk seemed bigger than me. Everyone was moving, too. Thankfully I was constantly at my dad's side, so I never got lost. From what I recall, the buildings all seemed like they were made of glass. Many dark windows. mainly. Now that I can somewhat think about the spacing and relationships the buildings have with one another, I am picturing buildings that are forced to move upward because of the lack of space around them. Almost like a jungle. Oh look, I connected with the phrase, "concrete jungle" wowwww. Something about the city is exciting. For me, it's the enormity of the place I mentioned. The idea of being a small part of such a huge place is the perfect cliff hanger. I have no clue what can happen there. I can meet the love of my life, get robbed, meet a celebrity, or get killed in a murder castle. The book seemed to make the city seem less appealing, at least it seemed like that to me. It is mentioned very early on in the novel how America neglected to think about how the architecture would look comparatively to other countries in the world. How France took the time to make sure every single detail was unified, while we just kind of threw buildings in where they were needed, not evening addressing what the result would look like. So all in all, the city seems more impressively interesting in real life than the unrelated jumble of the book.
I am a girl that literally did not leave Dubuque until she was eight (save one excursion to Guam during infancy), and even then it was with my friend's family to go to Chicago. Since Chicago was the first place I'd ever been aside from Dubuque I feel that I'm slightly biased towards the city, especially because in the nine years since then I have only been there three other times. Twice was during the day with fellow German students, and we only had about two hours to explore, so it was hard to stray too far from the heart of the city where we were dropped off at. The Chicago I saw there was this weird mix of polished and well put together but also really gritty. The smell always strikes me whenever I visit, and whenever Larson would describe it in the novel I could actually imagine it as if I were on Michigan Avenue. It's a mix of grease and industry and smoke and the river. It's very distinctly Chicago.Once I was in the city with my older brother, who was 21 at the time and very adventurous. We didn't leave the hotel for dinner until eight p.m. and after that we walked around downtown and saw a movie, and hit up a McDonald's for twist cones before returning to our room a little before one a.m. My brother kept me close always, but there was still the feel of danger in the air. It seemed louder and the people darker, with shifty eyes. The pavement was dirtier and instead of impressive the buildings were too big and intimidating, I felt so small. Maybe I was just seeing the city like this because I was bummed the concert we were supposed to go to that night was postponed (and then the band broke up, imagine my rage), but thinking back with a clear head and more positive energy (the band got back together a few weeks ago, imagine my glee) the streets still seemed different under the blanket of nightI think what Rachel said about the juxtaposition of Holmes's destruction and terror and Burnham's construction and hope for the fair is really what Larson uses to characterize Chicago with. It's a city with an internal feud going on--bad or good, dark or light, murder hotel or the World's Fair. I also agree with Mimi's point about Chicago's power diminishing since the Gilded Era and the rest of the world growing. I don't think there is as much competition between cities anymore, more so there's competition within cities. This concept still fits into the theme Larson creates of the internal feud, so while there are many differences between today's Chicago and the Chicago from a century ago, maybe they aren't as different as we think.
I agree that Chicago is a city with two sides to tell. Like most large cities, Chicago is a city bustling with people walking to and fro, a beautiful skyline, and countless things to do. At night the city is alive with lights, couples walking together and street musicians playing, but this is not the whole side to it. There are high crime rates in Chicago, poverty, and murder. The complexity of these two completely different sides makes Chicago truly fascinating. I have been to Chicago many times and this description true for me many times. One of the most prominent things that stood out to me was juxtaposition between a homeless beggar and a businessman going to work on the subway and how in one case, the city shows its wealth and prosperity and in the other, its poverty and hunger. I went with my sister a few summers ago on a college visit in Chicago and we had to consider both sides to it. Although Chicago had many things for her to do and the college had a nice campus, we had to consider safety and the well being of her as well. This is the same type of description Larson characterizes Chicago. The fair of Chicago represents its extravagant side while the crime of H.H. Holmes represents the opposite. This aspect of the city has not changed to this day. On one side, you see the magnificence of Chicago and on the other, its despair. Larson does a great job showing the characterization in Chicago that make it a city that is truly riveting.
Chicago is a city with two completely different sides to it. Parts of Chicago are big and fancy and full of stores and whatever else goes on, and they are generally pretty nice places. Then there is another side of Chicago, particularly inner city Chicago which is much like Larson describes the city in his novel. Some parts of Chicago are crime ridden and filthy. I have personally seen both sides of the city and when i picture Larson describing the city i picture the negative side.
Chicago, like many other metropolitan areas, is a canvas that allows for the possibilities of all kinds of business and people. People from all over flock to Chicago for business opportunities, sporting events, and family getaways. Unfortunately Chicago is also home to a vast, dark underworld of crime and violence. Like many who commented previously, I myself did not experience this underworld first-hand but caught glimpses of it through many homeless people and dilapidated areas of the city. I think what attracts people to Chicago the most though is the reputation that it has built for itself over time. Ever since the Great Fire that Nick touched on above, Chicago has been improving and building on its infrastructure and commerce all the way up to its present day status. Some aspects of Chicago have remained in shambles though which lead to a state where both a side of poverty and prosperity exist. Erik Larson touched on both of these sides of the city in his novel. He portrays the prosperous side through the plot of the World's Fair, as well as the poverty and violence stricken side through the gruesome legacy of Holmes. Larson is thus able to allow readers to create mental imagery and feelings that could very well apply to the actual modern day city.
Oh Chicago, my favorite city. I'd consider it my second home. I visit quite a bit, considering my father has an office there. It's a very bustling and up-to-date place, and it never stops moving. The people there are also very fast pace, starting their days early and ending with late nights. It's very breathtaking your first time there; but it can also be overwhelming. If you blink you'll miss everything, and the people won't stop to fill you in. You've got to find your own niche in the city. The city has a very exciting feel to it, and is always full of sirens and careless cab drivers. The city itself is broken up into many parts. There's the inner city, with the famous Michigan avenue and all its modern storefronts and food places. The inner city also includes the South Side, which is the slum of Chicago. The inner city is full of skyscrapers with countless office buildings, cabs, apartment buildings ten stories tall, and luxurious restaurants and hotels. But then there are also many suburbs and villages of Chicago where people build houses and create communities with schools and grocery stores. A lot of people live in these suburbs and commute daily to the inner city by train. I think that Erik Larson does a good job of explaining that the inner city is much different from the suburbs. The suburbs are spread out, more for living than for business. The inner city is where the big show happens.
I think that it is really insightful that you talk about the inner city having two parts: the more upscale Michigan Ave area and the South side. A paradox nestled deep in the heart of Chicago.
I have always absolutely adored Chicago. Everything about it- the people, the buildings, the stores, just the feel of the whole city. I have been to Chicago a few times, although it has been a while since my last visit. What I love most is the mix of different people that you see, and the blend of cultures. Chicago truly is a melting pot of society. The city is constantly buzzing with energy and life; everhwere you look something new and exciting is happening. The whole city is huge, making it even more exciting and grand. In many ways Chicago in the late 1800's is very similar to the way it is now, but also very different as well. Larson does a great job describing Chicago in a way that appeal to the senses. He describes the way the city smells, the way it looks, event the way that it lured people inside. Chicago still has the same feel- people will always be fascinated by the mix of life that makes up the city. The city always seems to have an air of mystery surrounding it, such as the way in which women would go into the city, and never be heard from again. Although Chicago might not still be the smelly garbage dump that it once was, it still has the same repuation that it has always had over the years. Chicago isn't quite New York, but rather it seems to her close cousin, being similar in many ways. What makes chicago unique is its placement-a beautiful city amongst a plethora of midwestern towns. Larson's description of chicago are dead on, not only in the way of imagery, but also in conjuring up feeling from every reader.
I have never really been into the center of Chicago; more like the outskirts or just a little bit inside. And its almost always night time because it takes so long to get there what with traffic and all. I haven't seen much of Chicago because my family just goes to the korean market to buy korean food to last us for 2 months. Yet I have heard many call Chicago a big and wonderous city. Larson originally describes Chicago in the beginning as a city that is easy to hide things in, to disappear in and I find that true about any big city really. Its not hard when there's so many people that you hardly ever see the same person twice in one week. Like most big cities though, it also has a darker side like a lot of people mentioned and unlike in smaller cities, it takes a longer time to find the criminal and sometimes even a longer time to find out that a crime had been committed at all. Larson conjurs up great imagery for the Chigao that was then and gives us something to compare with the Chicago of now.
I consider Chicago to be very unique. It definitely has the crowded big city feel. When I went there I noticed a lot of poverty. There were many people dirt poor begging for money. However, there were also some very wealthy people. It is a very busy city, as something is always going on. The streets within the city seem never ending. I think that Larsen did an accurate job in describing the city. I agree with him that it is messy and chaotic. It seems as though it the way he describes it is much dirtier. I have never noticed a smell or sewage problem while there. The city now has some differences from the book. Now the entire city is built up and there really isn't anywhere knew to build. For example Wrigley Field is extremely old, but it probably won't be rebuilt as there is nowhere else within the city to build a new baseball stadium.
Chicago is a very intricate and historic city. Today Chicago has a very large poor popoulation which has only grown since the late 1800s. The streets have been the same for years and are set up in a pattern which is confusing unless you travel them every day. Larsen depicts Chicago as busy and somewhat unorganized which i think is accurate. He makes it sound like a very rough place however and not a very nice place to live.I think its very similar to this today it is just now a lot more devolped and more organized.
I haven't been to Chicago since I was a little kid so I don't really remember it all that well. However, you don't have to go to Chicago to know how big of a city it really is. If you ask anyone what Chicago is like, they would most likely tell you that it is a very bustling city with many different cultures present. Like a lot of people have said, Chicago has two different parts to it. One part is the big bustling city with a lot of different stores and many different people. The other part is the crime stricken area with a lot of criminal acts and a lot of deaths. Larson shows more of the crime part of Chicago saying that it is easy for someone to get lost or to just disappear. Overall, the Chicago today is more pleasing than the Chicago that Larson describes.
Chicago may look as a beautiful and wonder city from the outside, but in reality it faces pretty much the same amount problems that other big cities have. If you travel through the city of Chicago there is the large business district that we all have heard and seen even if one has not traveled there. It is always busy with tons of traffic and magnificent skyscrapers. But then there is also the slums and poverty stricken areas that many try to stay away from because of crime and other bad things. This is the same as it was in the late 1800s and i think that larkin does a good job of characterizing it except with facts and more details.`
Chicago is obviously a huge city full of hustle and bustle. I actually have been quite a few times. I always got the impression that it was very crazy, and while it's fun for a short time I can't say I would like it for more than a vacation. It's a city where your always on the move, and I think that Larson portrays this well. A difference I notice is that Larson kind of makes it seem like it's lawless and a little shady. While that is somewhat true now there are obviously more police force and laws and thats a big difference between then and now.
Chicago is a very intriguing place to visit because of it's large size and also it's unique diversity. Because so many people live there it's population is very diverse and there are many different cultures. This is one of the things I remember most after visiting there when I was younger. I also remember that the buildings were all huge and there were people everywhere. It's a busy city and Larsen does a good job of portraying all of this.
Chicago is such a big well known city. When people think of Chicago they think of the shopping, the shows, the greatness. On the other hand they can think about the crime, the violence, and the terror. When in Chicago there is no stopping, people are always moving and always have their own business on their mind. The way Larson explains it, Chicago is not to different from today. He gives great detail to the smells and sights and the growth of Chicago at the time.
Each time I visit Chicago I fall more in love with it. I can hardly describe the excitement and attraction I feel as I enter the city, unbelievable skyscrapers towering over me. It's even better walking around downtown, feeling the bustling traffic moving past and sensing the true immensity of the skyscrapers surrounding me on all sides. Shopping in Chicago is great too; all of my favorite stores are within a few blocks of each other and there are a thousand more to explore. However, I'll be the first to admit that my experience with Chicago has been very one sided. I haven't seen the other parts of the city, the parts that aren't filled with glamour and beauty. The extent of my walk with the 'other side' of Chicago is seeing many homeless people in the downtown area. This is just a hint of the other side, the other side that Larson captures so wonderfully in his book. While he talks about all of the things that I've talked about--the excitement, the enormity, the glamour-- he talks almost as much about the smell, the dirtiness, and the darkness. I think Chicago has changed tremendously since the late 1800s, but these opposing undercurrents still exist in some form today. The beauty remains but so does the harsher reality.
Chicago is such an enormous city its very hard to not be impressed with it, especially being one who grew up in the small city of Dubuque. Going there every so often I am always so impressed with the huge skyscrapers and downtown area. It sits right on the shore of Lake Michigan having a beautiful nature scenery. Larson explains in great detail the hazards and hardships Chicago went through to be the great city it is today. He describes how hard it was to build on the wet soil, and how much architecture developed because of this city. The city was so cramped it had to grow upwards, starting to make the worlds largest skyscrapers. I find many parts of this book fascinating, but learned how this great city was built really intrigues me.
To me Chicago seems like a dream city. I have personally never been there but i've asked around and everybody seems to have the same general impression of the windy city. They all talked about the two sides of Chicago, the light and the dark. The light side, or inner city, consist of tall buildings,store fronts, and everything else one might think of when picturing Chicago. Then there's the slum filled with the dirt and grime of the city just as in The Devil in the White City. When Erik Larson wrote this book he was providing us with the dark side of Chicago. From what i've heard Larson seems to do the city justice.
My impression of Chicago when I was young was a scary place that you didn't even go to the bathroom alone in. I remember my mom not even letting me leave the hotel room to go get a snack from the vending machine that was just around the conrer. Of course at the time I was only 7 or 8. I also remember my dad not letting my mom drive because of the crazy traffic that she wasn't used to. I wondered why, if it was so dangerous, my parents would take me there. I went this past summer again, but this time we spent the majority of the time on michigan avenue, shopping central for downtown chicago. It was absolutely amazing. for some reason, I felt empowered just walking down the street. It's as if I took on the energy of Chicago in its entirety. I would love to live there., People are who they want to be. If I wanted to wear heels and a dress evry day, I could and no one would think anything of it. It has the best vibe I've ever felt from a city.My impression seems to be similar tho that of Erik Larson. Although we describe two different time periods, or general concensus is the same. Chicago is like two seperate cities with a bridge connecting both significant and insignificant partys of human society. Larson describes two seperate parts; one, an overpowering symbol of success and prosperity. The other a more down to earth image of meat packing plants, and the common working man. These two parts create a cover for eachother. The successful hiding stench and crime, the crime and stench sheilding the rest of the world from the overwheliming grandeur that the city has to offer.
Chicago is kind of intimidating - at least when you're in the actual city, as the outskirts of town are much smaller. I've been there a total of five times, three with my family for vacation and twice with my dad to see the Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field. It can be a beautiful town sometimes, but other times, it's honestly kind of scary. If given the chance, I would definitely go again - in fact, I plan on going to a third Cubs game this summer!Erik Larson describes Chicago much in the same way that I do - it's a gorgeous city, written about by Larson in lush, vivid detail, but at the same time, it's frightening, violent; Larson takes care to draw out its horror with the same intense style of writing as he uses to describe the city's beauty. I found it a little odd at first that he decided on telling two stories in the same book, stories that couldn't be any more different (the stories of an architect and a serial killer), but it ends up working, at least for me, because those stories are reflective of the city itself - charming and dreadful.
I've never been to Chicago, but the image that pops into my head when I think of the place is very different from the depictions Larson gives in his book. The Devil in the White city describes a growing Chicago, full of opportunity, as long as a person is willing to do anything for it. Bigger buildings are being built, and many records are being broken. My personal visions of an aged Chicago. Yes, grand buildings are being built and there is still a chance of great success, but most stories I've heard consist of poverty, gangs, and the homeless. I think it's a lot harder to be successful in present Chicago, because all of the great opportunities have already been seized, and we're left with a small space filled with too many people, and no money.
In my opinion, Chicago is like a smaller New York. It's appealing due to its fast pace lifestyle, and crowded streets. Chicago is intriguing due to the overwhelming chance of opportunity, not only in present day, but also in the past. I believe that this bustling city has drawn people in by having a more accepting nature, one that is harder to find in smaller cities. This chance at a new, more modern and advanced life is what has made Chicago appealing to people in the past and present. Erik Larsen tries to really stress the magic that Chicago offered in the early 1900’s. He builds Chicago up to be a city of new opportunities for people of this time period.
It is interesting to think about larger cities having more of an accepting attitude... I wonder what truth there is in that statement? Or, are we seeing a stereotype?
Chicago: a Midwest city of cultural fusion. In American history, Chicago has always been vigorous and flourishing. From its beginning as the heart of transportation in the Midwest during the late 1800’s, up until now, being the third largest city in the United States, Chicago has been increasingly influential throughout time. Though, amidst the fame and fortune that lies within the city, malevolence and crime is still prevalent, and has been for many years. I, for one, have never been face to face with this Midwest marvel, but have heard much about this place of paradox. In The Devil in the White City author, Erik Larson, profoundly illustrates the antithesis of the two sides of Chicago through his storytelling of two extremely different men; Daniel H. Burnham and Dr. H. H. Holmes. The title of the book itself represents Chicago’s two very different sides. The Devil, representing evil and injustice, is referring to Dr. Holmes, the story’s antagonist. The White City is symbolic of Chicago’s affluent areas and opulence, which refers to Burnham, the protagonist, and the World’s Fair, an event of extravagance and wonder. From what I've heard and read about of Chicago stays true to the diversity and sharp contrast of such a place Larson has depicted in his novel.
When I was younger I went to Chicago over the summer. I remember it being a big place and quite frightening at the time. I had to be by my parents at all times and there was no way I could get out of it. I remember we went to a museum and there were so many people there. I lost my mom For like two minutes and I freaked out and started crying. She found me right after and I was attached to her hip for the rest of the day. The Devil In The White City when Larson talks about Chicago being so big and mysterious. You never know whats going to happen or who's around the corner. Its probably a lot worse now than it was back then but its just one of those places you wouldn't want to be alone in.
In the book Larson describes Chicago as kind of an up and coming city that is continuing to grow. As an architect, he describes the city in a way that pays attention to how the buildings are quickly getting bigger and more extravagant. He also tells how Chicago is a fairly filthy city with all of the meat packing plants and the garbage/sewage overflow that causes the city to appear fairly undesirable. I've been to Chicago before and the city does appear dirty sometimes compared to small town Dubuque, however whenever I go I always see the city workers out cleaning the streets or sidewalks. My other impression is that it's BIG and HECTIC, if you don't know where you are going or where you are at you can easily get lost if you don't know what you're doing. Luckily my mom is an expert at diving into the depths of Chicago so I've never been lost... While others may describe Chicago as big and beautiful, I feel that it is one's own taste that determines if you like it a lot. I prefer small towns so Chicago gets old pretty quickly. Larson also dictates how Chicago has a habit of tearing down it's history and rebuilding over top of it. I believe this is a pretty accurate observation. Whenever I visit the windy city it always seems new and shiny not. Let's just say it's not a place to go if a person wants to see historical buildings...
A lot of you have commented on the vastness of Chicago, perhaps we come from a much smaller city. In fact, when talking about this vastness, so many of you used the word 'lost' when speaking of the size of Chicago. Today, we feel as if we could get sucked in and disappear into the city, but imagine what all of the naive and young women felt when they enter this same city. Granted today's Chicago might not compare to Chicago of yesteryear, but perhaps we are recognizing the timeless power of the large city. It seems so easy to get lost. Maybe that helps me understand the naivety of the young women who fall victim to Holmes rather than judge them for being 'dumb.' Now, that being said, I will not be venturing out on a rooftop with a strange man, or helping him test a sound-proof vault, or checking out a kiln in his basement... :)
Chicago is such a large city that it's easy to get lost in the crowd there. I've been to downtown Chicago once, and the suburbs only a few times, but my main impression of the city itself was motion. Everything seemed to move faster in Chicago, from the people on the street to the animals scrounging around for food. Even at night, Chicago never sleeps. The constant ebb and flow of people on the streets gives it a comforting air, as if being surrounded by multitudes of people means no one can harm you. However, with this motion also comes a darker sense of indifference and insignificance, as if the city and the people wouldn't care if you suddenly ceased to exist. The city of Chicago would still go on without you. In Erik Larson's version of Chicago, this darker undercurrent of indifference in the Windy City is shown more clearly than the gilded Main Street version of the city commonly seen by tourists. In Devil in the White City, Larson gives readers s glance into the heart of Chicago during the turn of the century. Larson characterizes Chicago's surface as a flurry of activity to get ready for the World's Fair, which is a view similar to my own impressions of Chicago. However, he also delves deeper, becoming immersed in the more dangerous portions of the city. Following the life of a known murderer, Larson shows that beneath the glitz and glamour lies a darker Chicago, one filled with menace and danger.
In my experiences, Chicago is one of the most interesting cities in modern America. There are endless possibilities as for residents, tourists. and people who wish to move there. As appealing as the city is now, I can't even imagine how it must have seemed to Americans and worldwide tourists at the time of the World's Fair. Erik Larson made the city seem to have dark and mysterious parts, but also a brighter and hopeful side. The Fair was something that was a very new idea, and the prospect of such a widespread celebration would draw an enormous crowd today as well. At that time, it provided a perfect place to settle in or start fresh for people all across the country. The city was huge, beautifully constructed, and the social event of the century. It simply appealed to everyone, on numerous levels.
The city of Chicago is very big, bright and beautiful. The city is so alive and there are a lot of different things that you can expiernce that might never have before. I have been to the city a couple times and when I was there I did all the marvelous things that people rave about. I ate the unique pizza, where the sauce is actually on top, I've gone to navy peir, saw the bean and I also saw the "Alice in Wonderland" play. This was all very new and exciting and I of course loved every second of it. I have never seen buildings so tall and made of glass and shiny. But, as Larson said the city is two-faced and that is only one side of it. As we drove through Chicago, we came to a part that was a little less amusing. The city has more than one part and in certain areas I saw abandoned buildings, graffiti everywhere that represents gangs and I saw homeless people begging for food, water and work. This is a sad reality of what we think of a magnificant city. My boyfriend grew up in Chicago and there is a lot f gang violence. The murder rate is among the top of the world. He has shared many stories with me that are very real and scary. So, I agree with Larson, the city is very two-faced and it all depends on where you go.