Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jack The Ripper-Gilded Age

The story of Jack the Ripper certainly reflects the Gilded Age concern of societal excess. While the 1880’s brought many industrial advances to America, it also brought major problems regarding employment and crime. The story of Jack the Ripper in London represented some of these issues, as detailed accounts of murder and prostitution are displayed to the reader. Immigration led to the need for crime and prostitution because there simply wasn’t enough jobs available. As new citizens arrived to make livings, they soon found that millions were in the same boat. When it came down to putting food on the table for their families, some men turned to robbery and and some women turned to prostitution. Although outlawed at the time, prostitution was soon accepted more into society as the need was more understood.

As major cities such as London suffered from massive cases of over-population, living conditions also grew worse. People were crammed into smaller spaces, food was scarce, and hygiene was becoming a luxury. Society also witnessed a stronger dependence on alcohol. Alcohol became a reason for many crimes, as it altered the decision-making abilities of stubborn and unsatisfied citizens. This situation of crime and poverty further widened the social gaps. As many wealthy people thrived from developing economies, unemployed people strayed from society. They were misunderstood by the middle and upper class because they were considered dirty and not as good as the wealthy and employed class.

Although this was London, it reflected American cities as well. America had over-population conflicts as immigrants came from all over the world to find work. Over-crowded places led to crime, prostitution, and homeless/hungry people. Jack The Ripper seems to be against this trend in the graphic novel we read in class. He kills those who he thinks are living unbeneficial lives to society. Although newspapers get involved, coining the name for him, he isn’t pursued as much by the justice system because he’s murdering lower class people. The story of Jack the Ripper reflects the issues of over-population and crime in the Gilded Age because it highlights who he is murdering and why he murders them. This all occurs in a much flawed society.

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