Jacob Riis How The Other Half Lives

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How the Other Half Lives, written by Jacob Riis, is about New York City tenements in 1860s to the 1880s and the immigrants that arrive to the city. Yet it isn’t what everyone believes about the great America. Riis explains how the everyday lives are affected by rent and jobs that only certain people can receive. The author goes through many different distinct ethnic groups and explains to the readers by photos and his experiences in each of the houses filled with many of people. Riis explains to the reader that life is not always what it seems in life, which is how the other half lives in New York City. With the three distinct ethnic groups, the Irish, Italian, and Jewish, Riis explains the living conditions and vocational options for each…show more content…
However, the Italians were very quiet and do not make much trouble unlike other district ethnic groups. Sadly, the Italians are okay for being ripped off by their own landlords and never argue with them for rent. “…That is to say: is content to live in a pig-sty and submits to robbery at the hands of the rent-collector…” (Riis, 41). The only reason the Italians were okay with the poor housing was their hospitality, their hospitality kept them going into the America ways. The houses they lived in were small and very dirty, yet either way they submitted to their ways and lived in the poor life. Even the process slowly went into the other Italian tenements in Little Italy (Harlem) were they sunk into the slum levels. However, it seemed the jobs got better for the Italians due to a discovery for some quick cash, “the discovery was made by earlier explorers that there is money in New York’s ash-barrel, but it was left to the genius of the padrone to develop the full resources of the mine that has become the exclusive preserve of the Italian immigrant” (Riis, 42). This get-cash scheme made the Italians money fast, over some simple job. “The men were paid a dollar and a half a day…” (Riis, 42) this cash helped them out, yet they did not upgrade into better housing. They still returned into their dirty house, and eating and sleeping meals in their dump of a home. To the Italians they were hard working men that stayed true to their original mottos from their mother country, however, they were used until they became “…literally to the plane of the dump” (Riis, 42). Other people came to the job and reduced the wages they got each day for working, yet they still came and worked. The Irish had a hard time to find work, yet the Italians seemed to have it better due to the fact they had some contacts with a padrone to provide them some money and they built up from
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