Jacob Riis How The Other Half Lives Summary

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We start off with Riis in New York talking to an agent, as he puts it, about the amount of families living in the Fourth Ward alley. To which he gets the response of 140 families of 100 Irish, 38 Italian, and 2 German ethnicities. Off those 140 families not one was of the native land of America. Riis goes into detail of the living conditions and the amount of money an Italian family had to pay in order to live in just a swanky three bedroom corridor. It shows the rough living of these individuals in a vivid picture. In the end Riis explains that of all the ethnic and cultural backgrounds that have had to live in these conditions, the German’s are the ones who are willing to get themselves out of such a predicament through saving money and never…show more content…
It was published as a part of Jacob Riis’ book How the Other Half Lives to give Americans a sense of what it was like for immigrants to move to our country. It shows how they only came to our land to better themselves and to provide for their families, and do honest work even if it meant doing jobs that Americans would not. The author is Jacob Riis, we discussed him in class as a prominent figure. Jacob Riis was a muckraker, an investigative journalist who exposed the truth about the living conditions for immigrants in New York. Jacob is also a photographer with famous photos of these conditions he wrote about. Jacob’s main purpose was to show middle class individuals the way in which the other half lives. Its intent of publication was to show that urban life in America was not necessarily what everyone thought it was and he shed light upon that fact. The main theme of this work is to show that the industrialization of America into urban land was not a perfect fit for everyone. It shows the hard work and labor the immigrants had to undergo in order to make a small amount of money just to live in terrible conditions. This writing shows the willingness of the immigrants to keep fighting for freedom and a better life after they are put through such conditions. It also clearly points out the many different ethnic backgrounds that inhibited these slum

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