The Victorian Era
I’ll admit, I know very little of the Victorian Era. When it was mentioned I always thought of gallant wardrobe, dances, and carriage rides through the park, for that is the way most movies, poems and plays present it. Although it is in France and slightly before the Victorian Era, The Count of Monte Cristo is a pretty accurate description of how I pictured the Victorian Era. Just a side note, I felt Sweeney Todd depicted the dirt and grime that made up London during that time.
I knew the basics, such as number of victims, his MO, and the stereo typical image of him. However, I had very little knowledge of the suspects or the truth about the situation of London. I knew he had five victims who were prostitutes, the disembowelment and the cutting of the throats, and then the whole cloak and dagger image. In addition to this, I had also read Thomas Bond’s profile of Jack the Ripper.
People of the Abyss
Jack London’s book stripped away all of the preconceived notions I had of the Victorian Era. That fact that so many people could live on such littl, and do nothing about it, shocked me. I know a dollar was worth more then than it is now, but still, trying to live on five dollars a week (if you were even that lucky) is a possibility that seems completely foreign. What bothered me more than the talk of eating rotting food and working for so little was the man who killed his entire family. I’ve that murder was rare back then, but still, to have a man kill his entire family and then have the police put a penny in the gas meter so that they would have light to see makes me wonder why Jack the Ripper got so much press. Is the killing of a family member not as bad? Is a death by suicide less depressing? It just made me realize the entire era is twisted…