February 19, 2013
U.S. History, 11
Problems the Children Faced
The book “How the Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis focuses on how people of other races or poor lived their lives in tenement houses. The most disturbing of all examples are the children and the problems they faced. In chapters 15, 16, 17, and 20 of “How the Other Half Lives” describes how children slept on the streets, had no homes or heat, and in a lot of cases, died. Imagine a life where a child had little food to eat, no where to sleep, savaging the streets, and looking for someone who would maybe love them and take care of them.
In chapter 15 “The Problem of the Children” in “How the Other Half Lives” Jacob Riis talks about the abundance of children with very little living space to keep them. “….in a Bayard Street tenement that for a yard has a triangular space in the centre with sides fourteen or fifteen feet long, just room enough for a row of ill-smelling closets….” Since there were so many children, a lot of space was taken up. A lot of children went to the hallways of the tenements or to the streets. Some of the parents declared they couldn’t afford to keep some of the children and kicked them out. “Another who was turned out by her stepmother because she had five of her own and could not afford to keep her.”
In chapter 16 “Wastes of the City’s Slums” Jacob Riis talks about the children that did live in the streets. “The real foundlings, the children of the gutter that are picked up by the police, are the city’s wards”. In a lot of cases a mother would rather her child die than live on the streets. “Of 508 babies received at the Randall’s Island Hospital last year 333 died, 65.55 percent”. People would put their children in asylums so they wouldn’t have to live on the streets. Mothers who chose to stay with their children would take care of them and another whose parent refused to stay.
In chapter 20...
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