Struggles Within

In the Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson, the serial killer H. H. Holmes is operating a hotel in Chicago for the World’s Fair. The year is 1890. Holmes is engaged to hh holmesthe young and attractive Minnie Williams. Williams herself has no idea of Holmes practices. This remains true until she falls victim to her fiance. The theme for this novel is that while things in the book do not always appear as they seem, Holmes love for Minnie Williams is true.

The preface for the Devil in the White City is titled Evil’s Imminent. In the preface, Larson explains his reasoning behind some of his writings in the book. He explains that his book is “not a work of fiction”(xi). He also states at the end that “In the end it is a story of the ineluctable conflict between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the white city and the black”(xi). This is in part saying that while things may appear as one way in the novel, they may not always be that way.

One example for how this relates to the book and quote above is in chapter 27, on page dwc 1244. The quote says, “with Minnie housed on Wright-wood Ave, Holmes found himself free to enjoy his world’s fair hotel” (Larson 244). I chose this quote to go along with what the preface says because i believe it is an example of what it is saying. It says that “… it is an ineluctable conflict between the good and the evil…”(xi) and that is exactly what the quote shows. Holmes is truly evil for killing women inside his hotel, but he is good enough and cares enough that he would move Minnie out of his hotel to make sure she is safe for now. Holmes is madly in love with Minnie Williams, that is the good part. Holmes kills innocent women in his hotel, that would be the evil part in this scenario obviously.

In conclusion, the quote from the preface tells of the battle between good and evil, daylight and darkness, the white city and the black. All of this was what Holmes was dwc 2feeling. He had a constant struggle between his evils of killing people and his love for Minnie Williams. All of which makes this quote perfect for explaining the reasoning behind Holmes madness. The theme for Erik Larson’s, The Devil in the White City. is that while things in the book appear not always as they are seen, Holmes love for Minnie Williams is true.  


Lights, Camera, Actors

The acclaimed novel The Devil in the White City will soon be made into a major motion picture directed by Martin Scorsese. The official cast list has not been released to the public but they have released that Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing the lead role on H.H. Holmes. This is the main role of the movie and the cast list should be determined around this role. Our group decided on these actors and actresses as a group and we feel like they could adapt and play these roles very well.

As a group, we have decided that Leonardo DiCaprio is perfect to play the role of the slick, yet malevolent H. H. Holmes. Henry Howard Holmes is depicted by Erik Larson as a man who “walked with confidence and dressed well, conjuring an impression of wealth and achievement” (35). DiCaprio’s features strike confidence with a powerful blow. He is no stranger to playing the wealthy and charming character that everyone seems to fall in love with. Scorsese may turn to Nick Offerman to portray the role of Daniel Burnham, the lead architect of the World’s Fair. Offerman would be playing one of the protagonist in the story and is known for his role in Parks and Recreation. Offerman has similar characteristics to that of Burnham. Larson notes that “Burnham was handsome, tall, and strong with vivid blue eyes that drew clients and friends to him the way a lens gathers light” (26). Larson also writes that “Burnham was decisive, blunt, and cordial he spoke under a blue gaze that most found comforting” (53). Offerman, who usually plays roles in comedies, can also act in serious roles like he did in FX’s Fargo. The casting for Minnie Williams could possibly go to Margot Robbie, a young Australian actress. Minnie Williams is a school teacher who wants to fall in love and start a family. Margot has similar traits, and can play the role of her character as she did in Wolf of Wall Street. Larson writes“To Minnie the little ceremony appeared to be legal and in its quiet way very romantic” (205). They both strive to fall hopelessly in love. Another possible casting option for Frederick Law Olmstead could be Anthony Hopkins. Known for his role in movies like Hannibal, Silence of the Lamb, and The Mask of Zorro, it is apparent that the man does not shy away from any role. Further, they also have very similar looks and personality traits. Larson describes Olmstead as someone who is “increasingly susceptible to illness and often prone to bouts of depression he had a reputation for brilliance and tireless devotion to his work– but also for an acerbic candor that emerged in the presence of men who failed to understand what he sought to create” (53). Larson goes on to add that “Olmstead was no literary stylist. Sentences wandered through the report like morning glory through the pickets of a fence. But his prose reveled in the depth and subtlety of his thinking about the landscape” (54). Scorsese may consider Annasophia Robb to portray Myrta Z. Belknap. Larson depicts Belknap as “[young and blond, with blue eyes and a lush figure. But what elevated her above mere beauty was the aura of vulnerability and need that surrounded her” (62). Robb fits the description of Belknap almost perfectly and certainly would make for a great counterpart to DiCaprio at the beginning of the movie. The beautiful Emeline Cigrand is a twenty-four year old described as “a warm and outgoing women” (165). Her character is a polite one stated by Dr. Cigrand, her distant cousin, “I was charmed by her pleasing manners” (165). What better actor to be casted as Emeline Cigrand than Nicole Kidman. The actress is light on the eyes, appearing humble and down to earth. Emeline Cigrand and Nicole Kidman definitely share similar features when it comes to the “trim figure” (164) and hair color.

I feel like they are very good choices for the characters we chose. They all can adapt to their characters and make this into a very well made movie.

Who really is the Devil in the White City?

The acclaimed novel, the Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson is being produced into a major motion picture by Paramount directed by Martin Scorsese. The casting choice for the lead role of H. H. Holmes has already been chosen to be Leonardo DiCaprio. This being another meeting between DiCaprio and Scorsese. I feel as though this is a good choice because the role fits DiCaprio’s style. He is known for playing in dramas and suspenseful movies and that is exactly what this is.

While the other casting choices have not been made or released yet, I will be choosing 2      more characters for whom i feel should play them in this adaptation of the Devil in the White City. For the character of Daniel Burnham i am choosing Ryan Reynolds. Feng blog pic 1rom the way Burnham is described in the book it is described in the way that would make Ryan Reynolds a good choice to play him. Larson describes Burnham as a hard worker here, “ Burnham intensified his drive for more power” (178). This quote shows how hard of a worker Burnham is described as being. Which is a strong characteristic to mimic in a movie. I can see Burnham as kind of a business leader, and as an important man. This would be good for Reynolds to play because he would be a good fitting for the role of a smart, cunning businessman.

The second character I am choosing to cast is Minnie. I am choosing Blake Lively to assume this role for the movie. Lively is known for throwing herself into any role she is assigned and imitating that character almost perfectly. She would be a good fit for this role because Minnie is innocent through the whole thing. She has no eng blog pic 2idea the man she married is a murderer who kills women. Larson displays with this one quote just how much Minnie is in love with Holmes, even in the beginning, “Holmes absence broke Minnie’s heart. She had fallen in love. His visits had thrilled her, his departures destroyed her (Larson 201). Lively would be good at playing this role.




Work Cited

Larson, Erik. The Devil in the White City, Vintage, 2004.


Lessons in Prison

In “A Question of Freedom” by R. Dwayne Betts it tells the story of Betts himself. When Betts was 16, he and some friends carjacked a man at gunpoint. The 16 year old honor student would soon be incarcerated. Betts read the entire time he was in prison and became a poet when he was released in 2005. He since then has had several accomplishments and has turned his life around. The books compares Betts memoir and a poem titled “The Bees” by Audre Lorde. The experiences described in his memoir, “A Question of Freedom” are similar to what is described in a poem titled “The Bees” by Audre Lorde.

a question of freedom

In the memoir, Betts describes his time in prison. He talks about how a man would get shanked and the guards would not say anything or intervene. This is similar to the security guards in the poem. They saw the boys destroying the beehive. Instead of stopping them, they joined in the destruction. This is very similar to what happened in the prisons.

Betts talks about his time in prison as a learning experience. He came out doing better than he was when in. However, some of the people he was incarcerated with are just so violent they don’t care. They do not learn anything from their time in prison. In “The Bees” the boys are relentlessly destroying a honeycomb. The girls “learn a secret lesson” and cry out that they could have used the bees as a lesson to study honey making. It all depends on your point of view.  

The girls and the boys had different points of view. The boys were destroying the honeycomb while the girls looked on in horror. This is similar to Betts experiences because the ones causing the destruction in the prison would be the “boys” while the ones standing back were the “girls”; who saw prison as a learning experience not just one big act of violence. Betts also talks about education in prison; this being similar to the secret lesson in the poems of “education outside of the classroom.” Betts says in his memoir that “the truth is often in the space outside of the story (188).”

The memoir that Betts wrote opens your eyes to what it is like in prisons. Just like how the poem, The Bees, opened your eyes to what playing on the school playground was like. Betts memoir and “The Bees” discuss three different issues. They are violence, learning experiences, and the different points of view between the “boys” and “girls”. The experiences described in “A question of Freedom” are similar to those described in “The Bees”.     

Betts, R. Dwayne. A Question of Freedom. Avery, 2009.





Coincidentally Cass

In Wonder of the World by David Lindsay Abaire, we see several aspects of coincidence and fate. All throughout the play we see coincidences that are often funny, some being more serious than others. We don’t find out until towards the end of the play that all of these coincidences come together into one epic story. This play is filled with heartbreak, humor, and instances of fate. Truthfully, how is it that all of these people end up in the same place to see their stories come together?
In the beginning of the play, Cass is leaving her husband Kip because, well frankly she puts it that she’s bored with him. Cass gets on a bus to Niagara Falls where she meets Lois. Lois is suffering from heartbreak as well because her husband left her due to her drinking problem. She is on the way to the falls to kill herself. Cass and Lois begin talking and they find out more about each other’s past lives. Lois and her then husband Ted had their honeymoon at the Falls. This is when Lois lost her watch she was given by Ted. This becomes important later in the story. When Cass and Lois arrive at the falls they meet what they thought were honeymooners named Glen and Karla but they were in fact an older couple hired by Kip to locate Cass. Also in Act 1, Cass meets Captain Mike, who is the captain of the ship that they are on.
The Captain and Cass hit it off instantly. They also find out more about each other. Captain Mike’s wife, Dinah, who was tragically killed when a large jar of peanut butter fell onto her head. Cass finds this out just as she is beginning to believe she was meant to meet the captain 7 years earlier. She explains to him that she was supposed to be going on a trip with her parents to the falls but then Kip proposed. She ended up not going on the trip and her parents were both killed when a beaver ran out in front of their car. Cass believes if she was there she could’ve saved her parents and met the captain. We find out all of this in Act 1.
In Act 2 we find out more about Glen and Karla. We find out that Glen was involved in a affair. Karla went to confront the women when she found her address in Glen’s pants pocket. Karla went to the wrong house and accidentally murdered the captain’s wife. In act 2 we meet Janie, the therapist who helped Glen and Karla. She was hired by Kip to attempt to save his and Cass’s marriage. Janie has based her whole business on a watch she found at the falls. The watch that Lois dropped on her honeymoon. During the group therapy session they all had is when we find out all of this. Karla comes walking back in from getting ice when she hit captain mike with the door, causing the gun he confiscated from Kip to go off in his hand, shooting himself. Captain mike dies while questioning Karla about his beloved wife and the ‘peanut butter murder” she committed.
The very last scene of the play, Act 2: Scene 4, is all about Lois and Cass. The largest coincidence in the whole play is that Cass and Lois both end up in a barrel, going over the edge of the falls. However, they get stuck on a rock and never make it over the fall. They just nonchalantly end up talking about breakfast as the play ends. So you not see how the play is full of coincidence and fate. All of the characters got all of their secrets and feelings out. They all went their separate ways. We end up seeing all of these stories come together in a way the reader would not expect.

Lindsay- Abaire, David. Wonder of the World. Dramatists Play Service. 2003.

Did someone say dog..?

My name is Logan Withers and I am a freshman here at Lenoir Rhyne. If there is one thing I love more than anything it would be dogs. I love all kinds, and sizes of dogs. If I see a dog in public I am guaranteed to attempt to pet it. I could sit and play with a dog for hours if you’ll let me. My love for dogs started with my first dog, boots. He was a poodle and a pickense mix. My current dog is Sprinkles, he is a shitzu and poodle mix. Sprinkles is my best friend. A couple of my other furry friends are Snowball, who is an American Eskimo, Lexi, Rascal, and Coco who are all miniature yorkies and Boooo who is a pit bull.

Sprinkles is my best friend. He is half poodle and half shitzu. He is 7 years old. When we first got him he was very detached and did’t care much for toys or anything. It took him a little while to warm up to us but once he did, he was the happiest dog ever. He would run and play outside. He soon became ‘my’ dog. He was attached to my hip. He was really sad when i left for college, he loves it when i come home for the weekends.

Snowball and my mom
BooBoo and Me


Snowball is my aunts dog. He is an American Eskimo. He’s solid white and a beautiful dog. He goes on our family beach trip every year. Lexi, Coco, and Rascal are all my pawpaw’s dogs. Lexi and Rascal are brother and sister. We gave them to each of my pawpaws on Valentines day 8 years ago. BooBoo is actually Taylor’s family dog. He is very sweet and loves to cuddle with you at any opportunity.

These dogs are all apart of my family and i love them more than anything.