mirror with a memory

Paper Rating: Word Count: 734 Approx Pages: 3

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 pro

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