The miserable surroundings Riis discusses throughout the length of his entire document focus on the tenement. The tenement is a building, which due to the immigration boom was modified by its landlord to create as many rooms as possible, therefore sacrificing the human necessities of air and light. Riis says,
“Large rooms were partitioned into several smaller ones, without regard to light or ventilation.”(Pg. 69)
These rooms were too small to house one family and too dark and stagnant too live in, yet it was common to have as many as three or four families in one “apartment”! Tenements are the pit of filth, hot, dank and disease ridden. It was very common for a whole building to be wiped out by a disease such as cholera. The tenants were so cramped that many babies died of “foul air”, the cause of which was no ventilation. Deaths due to the poor condition of the tenement houses were so great the first year tenements were instituted that the death rate in the city nearly doubled. Yet the tenement population kept growing and growing, until one third of New York City’s population lived in the tenements. Population was so concentra...
... middle of paper ...
...tenements were Hell, and through lucid descriptions and shocking photographs, Riis exposed the plight of the poor living in New York City’s tenements to the world. I found this book to be well written and his description usage superb.
In a few reviews posted on Amazon.com the general synopsis presented by all of the reviewers was similar to my feelings, except that they failed to see how his somewhat biased opinion affected his writings. They all agreed that his writings were very compelling, but the real key to this book was the horrific pictures he displayed. An anonymous read from Furman University of South Carolina is quoted saying:
“While the text in itself is quite interesting, the photos are perhaps the most gripping aspect of the book.”
Also they all felt a strong sense of sympathy for the poor lower class living in those
God-awful tenements posing as homes.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The novel How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis shocked middle and upper class Americans when it was published in 1890. Riis created a sensation when he revealed to the world, combining detailed written descriptions with graphic photographs, the horrific conditions of New York City’s tenement housing. How the Other Half Lives raised many questions, such as how and why the poor are subjected to such terrible living conditions and how that environment affects them. Riis also reveals his fears and prejudices toward certain ethnic groups as he investigates each tenement in order to find some kind of solution.... [tags: Apartment, House, Landlord, Renting]
1638 words (4.7 pages)
- History textbooks seem to always focus on the advancements of civilization, often ignoring the humble beginnings in which these achievements derive. How the Other Half Lives by journalist-photographer Jacob A. Riis explores the streets of New York, using “muck-racking” to expose just how “the other half lives,” aside from the upbeat, rich, and flapper-girl filled nights so stereotypical to New York City in the 1800s. During this time, immigrants from all over the world flooded to the new-born city, bright-eyed and expecting new opportunities; little did they know, almost all of them will spend their lives in financial struggle, poverty, and crowded, disease-ridden tenements.... [tags: book review]
2433 words (7 pages)
- The Reality of Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives Jacob Riis’ book How the Other Half Lives is a detailed description on the poor and the destitute in the inner realms of New York City. Riis tries to portray the living conditions through the ‘eyes’ of his camera. He sneaks up on the people flashes a picture and then tells the rest of the city how the ‘other half’ is living. As shocking as the truth was without seeing such poverty and horrible conditions with their own eyes or taking in the experience with all their senses it still seemed like a million miles away or even just a fairy tale.... [tags: Wealth Society New York City Poverty Essays]
1098 words (3.1 pages)
- Jacob Riis' How the Other Half Lives In How the Other Half Lives, the author Jacob Riis sheds light on the darker side of tenant housing and urban dwellers. He goes to several different parts of the city of New York witnessing first hand the hardships that many immigrants faced when coming to America. His journalism and photographs of the conditions of the tenant housing helped led the way of reformation in the slums of New York. His research opened the eyes of many Americans to the darker side of the nation's lower class.... [tags: Urban Poverty Society ]
1565 words (4.5 pages)
- With his book How the Other Half Lives, Riis offers the audience a glimpse into the unsettling and unnoticed reality of the urban poverty in America at the turn of the 19th century. Not only he revealed the dark side of the society, he also showed the urgent need for change. Riis used emotional as well as logical appeal to support his argument in favor of the need for a social reform. By combining powerful pictures and detailed annotations accounting the conditions of life in the New York, Riis made How the Other Half Lives unique and very effective in delivering his message and initiating a change.... [tags: Urban Poor]
788 words (2.3 pages)
- American History II A Reflection on "How the Other Half Lives" by the Other Half The author of "How the Other Half Lives", Jacob Riis, inscribes on the deplorable living conditions of the Progressive Era from a first-person perspective. Riis, an immigrant, police reporter, photojournalist and most importantly: a pioneer and social reformer, tells a very captivating yet appalling experience of the lower class life in New York City beginning in the 19th century. Migration and the standardization of establishments are the attributing factors to overpopulation distribution and overcrowding of living arrangements in the city.... [tags: Jacob Riis]
984 words (2.8 pages)
- Jacob A Riis said “one half of the world does not know how the other half lives” (1) in the introduction of his great book How the Other Half Lives, which was published in 1890. It was simply because the one half did not care how the other half lived. Although unknowing how the other half lives had not been a matter, it brought into relief the gap between people over middle-class and the poor around 1900s in New York City where was the youngest city in the world. After the Civil War, America developed as an industrial country.... [tags: Jews, Judaism, Han Chinese, Israel]
1098 words (3.1 pages)
- Documentary Photography One has often heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” When a person looks at a picture, it could take them back to their past or it could take them to a place they have never been. Photographs have the ability to describe scenes in a way that words cannot. One branch of photography, documentary photography, is particularly good at stepping in when words fail. Documentary photography was first introduced in the twentieth century when pictures were first used as a visual language.... [tags: Documentary Photographers, History]
1280 words (3.7 pages)
- Luke 1:67-79 contains Zechariah’s song which he sang aloud after receiving the news of his new son, John, from an angel sent by God. The first half of this hymn is Zechariah’s thoughts on God’s will and the other half is “prophesied” by Zechariah on who his new will become in his future. The passage being a hymn has great significance, because it resonates with Zechariah’s mood at the moment. It informs us as readers that this is great news and Luke makes sure that the reader is well aware of that.... [tags: Christianity, New Testament, Jesus]
1191 words (3.4 pages)
- Finding my “Other-Half” For a girl, her young adult years is the age of LOVE, it is the time when most of young girls want to get married and create a new family. It is the age when everything is just beginning and yet they have so much ahead. It is also a sensitive stage and changes occur which can have a high impact on values of a young girl. As a seventeen-year-old, I believe I found love at an age I never thought I would of. Love can be found anywhere, in the street, a bump in a hallway or a bus ride home, but the weirdest way I found love was through a social media website.... [tags: Love, Debut albums, Smile, 2009 albums]
975 words (2.8 pages)