The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City Part 3, Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
World’s Fair attendance on the day of July 4 is 283,273, a huge number. Burnham hopes that this means that the Fair might become financial profitable after all. But in the next few days, attendance tapers off. Burnham’s department has spent more than twice as much as originally planned on the Fair, and bankers want to take control of the exposition and save expenses.
It’s unclear whether Burnham has deviated from the original intention of the Fair — to be economically profitable — and focused too exclusively on spectacle, or if spectacle is a part of the Fair being economically profitable. Certainly, the banks assume that the former is the case; they’re completely unwilling to invest in more spectacles at this point in the Fair’s history.
Themes
Sanity and Insanity Theme Icon
Civic Pride and American Patriotism Theme Icon
Burnham knows that giving control of the World’s Fair to bankers would mean that the Fair would be a financial failure. He must increase the number of admissions to make the Fair profitable— this will require selling at least 100,00 tickets a day until the end of the Fair. Selling such a number of tickets, in turn, will require the railways reducing fare and Millet encouraging more people to travel from across the country. This seems impossible, considering the recession and the national wave of suicides.
Burnham faces a great challenge: he has to offer up his WF as a panacea for the economic troubles of the entire country. But this involves in some ways working around the economy itself — finding ways to lower train fare, etc. Even with the WF open to the public, Burnham’s work is far from over.
Themes
Ego and Cooperation Theme Icon
Civic Pride and American Patriotism Theme Icon