Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jack the Ripper & The Gilded Age

Reading about Jack the Ripper definitely brought out some very important aspects of the Gilded Age. During the Gilded Age people were beginning to realize how much the nation was actually changing. With the emergence of big business and new modes of transportation, people had to adapt to a whole new life. This fear of mechanization goes hand in hand with the fear that spread from Jack the Ripper. Constantly people were thinking what will happen next? Which relates perfectly to Jack the Rippers many killings. They had a fear that all this new technology would change the society they knew, and one of these changes was the first serial killer.

Another problem happening in London as was happening in the U.S. was the problem of overcrowding. It was very hard to find a place in such a congested area and so people were trying to find a place to live anywhere they could. This caused tension in cities and an overly competitive atmosphere. People were desperate for jobs and living, so by any means necessary they had to find a way to get what they wanted.

Another aspect of Jack the Ripper that relates to the Gilded Age is directed at whom he murdered. Jack the Ripper focused his attention on poor women/prostitutes. These were very easy targets because they were vulnerable, and he knew the police would hardly even look at their cases. Because these women were seen as outcasts, society and the police department treated them as such. Jack the Ripper targeted them because he knew no one would care, just like the people in the Gilded Age. Because of the poverty and overcrowding, women sometimes had no other choice then to be prostitutes. Because of what they had to do for their families they were sitting duck targets for Jack the Ripper and other men that could abuse them.

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