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mirror with a memory


             The Mirror with a Memory.
             While it was unclear to me what subject of emphasis the writer was attempting to discuss, .
             his slow start sped up quite promptly. The reading discusses the personal .
             views/experiences of Jacob Riis in regards to his views of poverty and social connection .
             of the poor class community/individuals in the U.S during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
             Riis, takes us the readers thru a first lyrical then visual journey in to the world of the less .
             fortunate immigrants. An immigrant himself, he tries to make society help well the .
             conditions of the less fortunate by reporting about them & later adding pictures by a .
             fairly new invention called the camera; an object that can take a split second of real life .
             and hold it for others to observe and witness once the moment is gone. However, Riis .
             under estimates the power a picture can hold. The message it relays is greatly affected by .
             the individual who is taking the picture. Whether he did or didn’t know that his personal .
             bias will appear in the photo silently is debatable. I think he used it to his advantage. I .
             have yet to understand some of the reasoning/gains behind Riis’s attempts in helping the .
             poor. It seems quite clear to that even as an immigrant, Riis never really understood the .
             psychological and emotional effect poverty has on an individual. Yes, he was at one point .
             stripped of his wealth and lowered in social class but it was temporary. Riis came from a .
             middle-class family. As a child growing up he was not neglected in the way a poor .
             person might be. If you were born in to poverty you don’t feel the same suffrage as a .
             person who knows what its like to have then to lose. In a way I can call Riis a self hater, .
             an Anti-Semite and contradicting himself. “To rise to middle-class dignity and prosperity .
             and to become, in the most respectable sense, not a newcomer but an American…-Like .


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