The Devil in the White City By Erik Larson Summary and Analysis Part II: Chapter 23 - Dreadful Things Done By Girls

Summary

Unemployment in the rest of the nation is increasing, yet the fair is keeping the people of Chicago employed. Exhibits are now pouring in on a daily basis. Ferris continues to build his history-making wheel and shipments to be used at the fair come from all over the world. Despite this progress, New York newspapers continue to make jabs at Chicago's ability to deliver a sophisticated event, and the Chicago newspaper quips back, enjoying the lively banter.

Carter Henry Harrison's political career advances as he's named one of two candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor. The people see this Kentucky-born, handsome, twice-widowed Yale man as charismatic; he appeals to the lower class. Harrison wins the Democratic nomination. Across town, Prendergast celebrates Harrison's nomination by sending out several postcards announcing his support, one again to the lawyer Trude, who decides to keep one of them. Prendergast has arrived at a new conclusion: If he supports Harrison and the candidate wins, surely Harrison will appoint Prendergast a position, specifically the position of corporation counsel. By the end of the chapter, Harrison wins the mayoral election and is proud to be the mayor of Chicago during the fair.

Analysis

Burnham's insecurities resurface as the New Yorkers wear on him. Burnham doesn't have the educational background that some of his detractors do. The Easterners question Burnham's ability to make big things happen. The disparaging attitude eats at Burnham and makes him more driven to make the fair a success. Again, the theme of pride appears in this chapter as Burnham's pride pushes him further to ensure the fair's success.

Chapter 23 foreshadows a detrimental connection between Harrison and Prendergast, as noted at the chapter's end. After winning the election, Harrison is said to have given "no thought whatsoever to Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast." Of course, Prendergast wants exactly the opposite.

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