One of the most effective ways of communication is through texts. Authors utilize textbooks to convey messages that affect the day-to-day activities across the social, economic, environmental, and political domain. While some writers creatively develop fiction stories to communicate, others use nonfiction accounts that influence readers and ultimately contribute to changes in the mainstream. Death in the Airis a nonfiction book that tells a fascinating yet disturbing story about the events that happened in 1952 in London. The paper presents a discussion of how effective the authorintroduces the main themes and communicates the mainstream events using the main characters. Although the similarities and differences between the smog and the serial killer are numerous, the writer effectively uses them to communicate the main issues.
The writer provides a detailed background of events that contribute to the development of the main themes. The writer begins with a description of the status in London after World War II. According to Dawson, London faced a major crisis seven years after the War (10). The British government had an enormous war debt, sugar and sweets were being rationed, and resources were limited or in bad conditions. The war had also left bombed-out buildings that provided safe havens for criminals to hide which was a major challenge for the few available police (Dawson 3). Such accounts not only introduces the audience to the poor conditions that the Londoners were living in but also prepares them for the terrible events that unfold. For instance, the reader is led to believe that crimes ensued in London because of the dilapidated buildings and poor conditions. Accordingly, the background stimulates the readers’ imagination and prepares them for the ordeal that follows.
The author effectively uses a metaphor to describe the ordeal of two parallel killers that led to the death of Londoners.The first killer is the fog that engulfed London for five days. According to Dawson, the massive use of cheap brown coal in London led to the emission of gases that were toxic to human beings (4).The second murderer is a serial killer, John Reginald Christie, who roamed the streets of London killing women under the cover of the fog. Both killers are similar in that they all strangled their victims. While the fog directly incapacitated its victims, Christie assaulted and asphyxiated his victims using the coal gas. Another similarity is that both were opportunistic. The fog appeared when the Londoners were burning coal in the coldest period of the yearwhile Christie murdered women or prostitutes who needed money or a place to sleep in the poverty-stricken area. According to Dawson, the two killers were infamous, nearly escaped justice, and contributed to changes in the law both in Britain and around the world (273). Accordingly, the two killers were similar.
The fog and Christie are also different in a number of ways. First, the victims targeted are different. While Christie victims were women who lived an impoverished life, the fog did not discriminate. Everyone who lived in London was a target. Nonetheless, both killers were effective in their job. Second, the fog killed 12,000 people over a period of five days while Christie murdered six people during the five days. Third, the two were met with different reactions from the public, the media, and the government. According to Dawson, Christie terrified the Londoners more than the deadly fog (7). The newspaper editors prioritized Christie’s story over the fog. Similarly, politicians intentionally avoided the topic of the smog because they facilitated the use of coal. Dawson argues that the government knew the effects of coal and yet they ignored its effects essentially because the dwindling economy depended on it (5). Thus, the two characters had significant differences.
Despite the similarities and the differences, the author effectively communicates to the audience. The main intent of the author is to uncover the two infamous stories (Dawson 7). The author also explores the political, social, environmental, and economic aspects that affected Londoners in the aftermath of World War II. According to Dawson, the Conservative Party could not constrain the coal industry not only because of the economy but also for the reason that the Labor Party would politicize the issue to win the upcoming elections (4). The author also reveals the way that Londoners were thinking at the time. Although the coal gas led to the death of thousands of people, the public and media dwelt on Christie’s case. Moreover, the impoverished area where Christie targeted his victim shows the socio-economic status of Londoners. The environmental aspect is conveyed through the deadly fog. Accordingly, the author provides an intertwined story that communicates the political, economic, environmental, and social attributes of London seven years after World War II.
Death in the Air provides an account of the events that transpired in London after World War II. The author effectively prepares the audience in the introduction preparing them for the ordeal that unfolds in London. After successfully captivating the attention of the audience, the writer integrates direct metaphor between the infamous smog and the serial killer. However, there are numerous similarities and differences between the two killers. Nonetheless, the author intentionally utilized the contrast to effectively communicate the social, economic, environmental, and political issues that faced London in the postwar period.