In The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, many inexperienced women come to Chicago in hopes of finding new opportunities and a successful job. These women were often single with no previous experience in the city, which made them an effortless target for Dr. Holme’s vile plans. With his charisma and reassuring presence, Dr. Holmes could instantly allure these women. Most women in this time period were often sheltered or brought up in a secure and familiar environment. However, in the beginning of the book on page 11, it states, “Never before in civilization have such numbers of young girls been suddenly released from the protection of home and permitted to walk unattended upon the city streets and to work under alien roofs.” I believe that because these young women had recently been liberated from their small town life, it created even more of an excitement and eagerness to take any employment opportunity that came their way.
This in turn, worked against them, by prompting them to take the desirable jobs with Dr. Holmes. Another factor that induced these women to be so susceptible to Dr. Holmes’ corrupt plans was his undeniable charm. With their naïve mindset, a young man with striking eyes and a perfect physique (page. 35) was a handsome welcome to their new lives. This unexpected warmth in a new city enticed the young women and brought them to trust Dr. Holmes despite his underlying motives. However, because of their infatuation with him, the women were oblivious to his subtle maneuvers such as standing too close, staring to hard, and touching too long (page. 26) that would have revealed his ulterior intentions.
This captivation gave Dr. Holmes the opportunity to have these women wrapped around his finger and be in complete control. Overall, the young women coming to Dr. Holmes were much too ignorant and enthusiastic to be alone in a large and unpredictable city, such as Chicago. Their curiosity and willingness to find a new life led them into very lamentable situations that cost them their lives. Unfortunately, I think that even if these women had been somewhat more apprehensive, Dr. Holmes, with his alluring charm, would still have the upper hand at reeling these women into his deplorable plot.
Courtney from Study Moose
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