How The Other Half Lives Analysis

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The full title of this book is “How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York” and it was first published in 1890. Jacob A. Riis was a journalist and a photographer that focused mainly on the environment of the poor neighborhoods and slums in New York City in the second half of the 19th century. This essay deals with the motives behind Riis’s work and the importance of photographs for achieving his goals. At the beginning it is important to look at the life of Jacob A. Riis and his ideology because omission of these facts could result in misleading conclusions. David Leviatin summarizes the main events of Riis’s life in the introduction to the book. We learn that Riis himself was an immigrant from Denmark and he had first-hand …show more content…
Before the book “How the Other Half Lives” was published, he had written many newspaper articles and organized presentations of his photographs with his magic lantern. He showed pictures and told about what he saw in the tenements. The photographs added an important element to the stories. People knew that he tells the truth and they could see the situation with their own eyes. The newspaper articles without pictures had not the same …show more content…
On the picture we can see a woman holding a baby in a room that looks like a basement or a barn. There is no floor coverings and the walls are not straight and dirty. Several buckets and barrels are around the room as well as some bags probably with clothes or duvets. The stove in the corner of the photograph is cold probably because the tenants have not anything to make fire with. The woman looks a little grubby but her clothes are not extremely dirty. She holds the baby tightly wrapped in some rugs and looks upwards at the photographer with blank expression on her face. She probably doesn’t understand what is happening. However the room looks tidied as well as can be. The floor is swept, the bags are along the wall on the barrels and there is no trash. This picture supports some of the claims about Italians. Good tenants that don’t cause problems and women are good mothers and wives. The baby on the picture is sure to evoke sympathy, especially when combined with stories and statistics of infant

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