Archive for February 8, 2008

Blog Post 1

Posted in Background on February 8, 2008 by may245

What do I know about the Victorian Era?

Almost nothing. I never gave much thought to it, unless it was to the architectural styles of houses in the time period as well as clothing styles. I guess the most detailed mental picture I would get is that from the movie “Black Beauty” where the women dress in large poofy dresses and ride around all day in carriages pulled by black horses.

What do I know about the Jack the Ripper murders?

Again, not much. I knew some of the sayings and that he was the first known serial killer. But up until our first class period, I knew nothing about the victims or his way of murdering them that he incorporated. I never really paid it much attention I guess.

Reading People of the Abyss.

Reading this book was like an eye opening experience for me. I had no idea that most people in this time period lived like that, which differed extremely from my view of women going to tea parties in horse- drawn carriages. The truth was, most of the population’s women were prostitutes that slept in or around the streets at night. It would have been very unfortunate to be a woman of this time period with little money. The other thing I found most disturbing was the way that people slept. Paying to sleep tied to a bench seems a little hysterical when we think about it in this day and age. But back then, it was a reality, and many people were actually forced to sleep that way for many nights.

 

A Queen and Two Jacks

Posted in Uncategorized on February 8, 2008 by corkey11

Victorian Era
The Victorian Era began with Victoria’s ascension to the throne in in 1837 and ended with her death in 1901. It was during this time that England became an industrial power instead of an agricultural nation. Industrialization lead to an emerging middle class and a trampled lower class. Culturally, the period was dominated by a middle class that strongly desired to emulate the aristocracy. Hence, no truly new styles were created but grand styles of the past were re-imagined and distorted to create “new” styles. Revivals dominated the art, clothing, and architecture of the period.
Another way of summing up her reign can be found in the song “Victoria” by the Kinks (which is a really awesome song).
“Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen.”

Jack Attack!
Jack the Ripper is the name given to an unknown murder from the late Victorian era. He preyed on prostitutes in London’s East End, slit their throats, and often mutilated them. It was a case that press had a complete field day with. Lurid Victorian sensationalism took over the murders to create widespread fear and panic tempered with curiosity. As an unsolved case, these murders have became a cultural fascination, and Jack, whoever he might have been, has became a London legend. We make films, write numerous books, and create in many other mediums to try and display this fascination and explore the mystery that is Jack the Ripper.

A Pair of Jacks in London Town
In Jack London’s “People of the Abyss,” he chronicles the events that occurred as he joined the masses of impoverished people in London’s East End. London was no doubt a crusader- from his other books you can clearly see his pattern of thinking and hoping for change- but to some effect, the book almost feels like he is throwing stones at the British for many of the same things that were occurring in America at the same time. For instance, he seems to find the hop pickers to be this crazy phenomenon, while there is an even bigger mass of migrant workers in the U.S. at this time in equally degrading lifestyles. Yes, it’s good to hope for and push for change, but I feel like London should have looked to the homeless and those living in dirty ghettos and tenants around him rather than going across the ocean to find the same thing. This slant also makes it harder for me to feel that he is as truthful as possible. Yes, I won’t argue with the misery and decay of the East End and it’s people, but it’s not really that unusual for an industrial city in that time. In fact it was and in many ways still is the norm.

New Suspect

Posted in Suspects on February 8, 2008 by Lavaughn

Looks like we’ll be adding an as-of-yet unnamed woman to the suspect pool.  This story examines one of the letters and its ties to Manchester