Jul 18, 2017 Research papers

How the Other Half Lives

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How the Other Half Lives


Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1890) – due February 3

you should use book as resources

1. Read the preface, v-viii, and Riis’ own introduction, pp. 1-2.

2. Take 20-30 minutes to browse through the entire book, looking at all the pictures and reading the first paragraph of every chapter. Look at the statistics on pp. 231-233.

3. Select eight of Riis’ chapters and read them. Three of these chapters must be ch. 1 “The Genesis of the Tenement,” ch. 2 “The Awakening,” and ch. 25 “How the Case Stands.”

Write a double-spaced, typed letter of 1000 words, responding to what you read and saw. 

In the p. 1 top right corner: your name, SFC History 1201-15, word count of your paper.

4. You will address this letter to “Jacob A. Riis, New York City,” and you will date it February 3, 1891: in other words, you are pretending to be a contemporary of Riis, not someone living in 2015. Begin with “Dear Mr. Riis” …

5. Invent an 1891 identity for yourself: give your name and age, where you live, what your economic status is (rich, middle-class, poor) and what your national background is. Tell him that you have been looking through his book (noting the chapters you read) and pictures and why you feel moved to write to him (one paragraph).

6. Identify three things that surprised/shocked you the most in reading the book, and why they surprised/shocked you – including Riis’ descriptions of the various immigrant nationalities. (three paragraphs)

7. Lift out a quotation that particularly struck you, and identify the page on which you read it, and one photograph that did the same, with the page on which it is found. Explain why you chose both the quotation and the photograph. (one paragraph) 

8. Tell him what you think of his specific recommendations in ch. 25 and whether they are likely, in your opinion, to be acted upon. (two paragraphs)

9. Either condemn or commend Mr. Riis for his book and pictures and tell him why. Tell him how you imagine his work will be evaluated in 2015. (two paragraphs)


Name: SFC History 1201-15 1400 Words Letter to Jacob A. Riis, Author of “How the Other Half Lives”, New York City Name: Institution: Joseph O. Shepherd 17, Spine Street Cape Town February 3, 1891 Dear Mr. Riis It is with great honor and pleasure that I write to you. I am, my dear sir, Joseph Oliver Shepherd, a permanent resident of Cape Town, South Africa- a major destination for European immigrants. In all my 24 years of life, I have lived in the middle-class suburbs of Cape Town. I am currently a finalist student taking literature at the University of the Cape of Good Hope. As you may have guessed, both my parents are English immigrants here in South Africa. Dear Mr. Riis, I wish to convey to you that I have just finished reading your book, “How The Other Half Lived”, and that I was very interested in reading it. I always delight to think that the world has sufficient space, position and place for everyone in a manner that we can all be comfortable. However, after reading you book, it has come to my attention that this is not always the case. Indeed, you have showed that some of us live under very underprivileged circumstances, what is worse is tha


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