The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City

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The Devil in the White City Epilogue, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Burnham waits to hear more news about Frank Millet. He writes Millet a long letter encouraging him to come to the next meeting of the Lincoln Commission, which is looking for a designer for the Lincoln Memorial. During the night, the Olympic returns to its original course, since another ship has been sent to rescue the Titanic. The other reason the Olympic doesn’t go to rescue the Titanic is that the designer of both ships, J. Bruce Ismay, one of the few people who survives the sinking of the Titanic, insists that Olympic passengers must not see a duplicate of their own ship sinking — the shock would be too humiliating to the White Star Line.
Ismay’s decision to keep the Titanic and the Olympic separate emphasizes the importance of appearances in his business. Ismay has obligations to his investors, and he doesn’t want to discourage his business. Ironically, Ismay’s commitment to improving the public’s perception of his ships leads passengers on the Titanic to die without help, which of course destroys the public’s faith in his company.
Themes
Modernity and Anonymity Theme Icon
Ego and Cooperation Theme Icon
Frank Millet died on the Titanic, along with William Stead. Burnham, meanwhile, lives for only 47 more days before succumbing to a coma from his diabetes and other health issues. He dies in July of 1912. Margaret survives through two World Wars and the Great Depression, only passing away in 1945.
In life, Burnham’s work often separated him from being with his wife, Margaret, and even when he dies, Margaret carries on for decades after him.
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Ego and Cooperation Theme Icon
Margaret and Daniel Burnham are buried together in Graceland, Chicago, near Sullivan, Root, and Mayor Harrison.
While all the designers of the WF eventually pass on, their achievement in designing the Fair lives on. It lives on in the technology that they helped to popularize, the architecture they inspired, the popular culture they influenced, and even in the book Larson has written. The graves in Graceland, like Larson’s book, are monuments to great, even heroic men who sacrificed a great deal in a single-minded pursuit of a great dream, and deserve to be remembered.
Themes
Men and Women Theme Icon
Ego and Cooperation Theme Icon
Civic Pride and American Patriotism Theme Icon