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The Devil in the White City

  • Study Guide
Quotes

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Quote 1

What he craved was possession and the power it gave him; what he adored was anticipation – the slow acquisition of love, then life, and finally the secrets within.

This quotation about Holmes is found in chapter twenty-two, just before he meets Minnie Williams in Chicago. Larson explains what motivates Holmes to choose the women he does. Previously, Holmes pondered getting a new secretary, but indicates that she needed to have the right mix of need, weakness, and loneliness. Those three things enable him to attain what is described in this quote—the possession and power over someone’s life. Holmes likes to take control slowly, enjoying the tension as he waits and manipulates. In another context, the second half of this quote could be quite romantic—slowly wooing your lover, living your lives together, and learning about their heart. Unfortunately, Holmes is quite literal. He likes to take love, kill the person, and dissect the body.