Jack the Ripper coursework
Question1: Source A. What can you learn from source a about the murders of Martha Tabram and Polly Nicholls?
Source A is part of an article in the East End observer describing the murders of Martha Tabram and Polly Nicholls. It is therefore a primary source of evidence with a fairly reliable purpose of informing the public of the eastend. Clearly it is written by somebody living in the area at the time and therefore helps us see the people’s opinion of the murders at the time. Most importantly we can learn that people linked the two murders together, ‘both crimes are the work of a demented being’ this statement is purely the writers opinion as no farther evidence ever proves this to be the case nonetheless the article informs us there were similarities to the murders.
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We can also learn the context of the murders, ‘the victims have been the poorest of the poor, and no adequate motive in the shape of plunder.’ From this statement we can imply that the murders were done in cold blood and not calculated robberies. It could also be suggested that the Polly Nicholls and Martha Tabram did nothing to provoke such an attack but were murdered spontaneously due to the fact that they had nothing a murderer could possibly want. However the article also says, ‘ the excess of effort has been apparent in each murder,’ this tells us that the killer had an intent to kill and a certain amount of knowledge how he wished to murder his victim.
From the article we can see the main reason the public linked the two crimes was, ‘extraordinary violence is the peculiar feature in each instance’ this tells us that such vicious murders were still extremely rare in the area therefore logically the frightened public linked the murders. Therefore we can conclude that the article tells us the murder of Polly Nicholls and Martha Tabram were vicious random attacks and not they did not provoke their killer. In each case extreme and previously planned violence was used, this violence was not familiar to the area and caused panic and hysteria. Although it is not confirmed the two murders are linked source A tells us they were and highlights similaritys.