Jacob Riiis The Mirror with the Memory Rough Outline
INTRODUCTION: WRITE THE CONTEXT OF THE ESSAY :
*A brief overview of the historical moment.
*The significance of Jacob Riis’ work
DEVELOPMENT: SECTION ONE
Refer to the chapter The Mirror with the Memory—
The Plight and situation of the immigrants:
The American Dream – Does it exist? Did it exist back 100+ years ago
Refer to the J. Truslow Adams Quote
Refer to the poem: The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Add any articles on The American Dream that apply (we will research this)
What is the legacy of J. Riis?
Did his photographs make a difference?
What reforms came about as a result of Riis and other Muckrakers?
Was the fact that he wrote a book that uses insensitive and prejudicial language change how you feel about Riis and his Legacy?
Do you think Riis wrote in such a way to appeal to the upper classes or was he himself a bigot?
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
― James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America
The New Colossus
BY EMMA LAZARUS
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Prompts for Jacob Riis and “Mirror with a Memory”
Think about the title “Mirror with a Memory.” What does it suggest to you? What “mirrors with memories” do we see today?
How the Other Half Lives–
Step One: Review the gallery of photographs of Riis circa late 1800s New York. Read through some of the chapters. You will notice how prejudice and racism abounds in Riis’s descriptions of immigrants living in the Lower East Side then.
Step Two: Consider the two sides of New York, one rich, one poor. Though New Yorkers are better off now than about a century ago what is still wrong with the everyday lives of struggling New Yorkers, including the latest immigrant population?
Step Three: Write your reaction to these statements: “Riis did not simply want us to see the poor or the slums; he wanted us to see them as he saw them..” The last paragraph of the chapter captures this point:
“In a sense the photographs “mirror” is silvered on both sides, catching the reflection of its users as well as its subjects. The prints that emerge from the twilight of the darkroom must be read by historians as they do all evidence–appreciating messages that may be simple or obvious or complex and elusive. Once these evidentiary limits are appreciated, the historian can recognize the rueful justice in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ s definition of a photograph: an illusion with the appearance of reality that cheats the senses with its seeming truth.”
As with Step One, write a short reaction but in this case, engage with the ideas from the above quote. Break it down, associate it to other modes of representation, say whether you agree/disagree with the statements.
WRITING ASSIGNMENT: COMBINE YOUR REACTIONS THAT YOU WROTE FOR STEPS ONE AND TWO: What critical comments can you make regarding human conditions of the representation of people who are struggling in society–the poor, the indigent and those marginalized because of race, religion or just how they appear?
On the other hand, photography – including social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the use of smartphones capture events in our lives people long ago never dreamed possible.
How do photographic images—and all the new technological advances contribute to our understanding of the lives of others? How do images, and modes of representation today bring us “truth” as well as “distortion” of the truth.? What events can you also consider today that impacts how people are represented? You may refer to any significant recent incidents in the current news events
First, you. must choose your Topic: the topics are the homework assignments we did as well as the prompts. Make sure you read through carefully because there are many options.
Main Idea -Thesis This is your biggest, strongest idea that ties your essay together and/or that you want to “push” the reader to agree with or to persuade the reader . It is also an idea that has some depth, critical thinking and complexity. Here’s an example:
Par 1. Topic Sentence: Anarchism was a concern for some Americans because of terrorist activities associated with the political group. (The rest of the paragraph will develop this idea)
Par 2. Topic Sentence: Judge Webster Thayer was a Nativist who openly deplored radical groups, including communists, socialists, and anarchists. (The rest of paragraph will explain how he prejudiced the case and will add some of his quotes.
Graphic Outline: If you prefer, you can start with a visual outline, like a “bubble” with the topic inside and connectors to all the ideas that relate to the topic. On the side panel, there is a graphic outline on how to write an Argument. Your essay can argue a position, but it does not have to be an argument to be a good essay. You can also analyze a topic as well but If you do write an argument, it is good to show both sides but you can also write a perfectly good essay arguing strongly on only one side of the topic.
Please remember that wile I have posted many articles, youtubes and extra information, it is your decision what to select and you should also do your own research. You can use .edu sites, .gov sites, the library databases, google scholar, but please be careful with .orgs. Check with me on sites you are not sure of.