The Tenement Flat Analysis

1701 Words7 Pages
Jane Elliot, one of America’s most respected speakers on prejudice and discrimination, is well known by her quote speaking of American identity, “We don 't need a melting pot in this country, folks. We need a salad bowl. In a salad bowl, you put in the different things. You want the vegetables - the lettuce, the cucumbers, the onions, the green peppers - to maintain their identity. You appreciate differences” (Elliot). Elliot emphasizes the importance of having diversity in the country and respecting the different cultures and identities. While Jane Elliot’s idea may seem modern, it is actually rooted in historical movement ever since the Modernism Era. Just as Jane Elliot expresses the idea of embracing diversity, so too did many artists and…show more content…
As an up-and-coming young California artist, Millard Sheets is interested in painting the tenements in the Bunker Hill neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles during the Great Depression. In this painting, Millard Sheets depicts a tenement neighborhood with people relaxing under the bright afternoon sun. Throughout this painting, the colors Sheets uses are mostly warm colors, such as orange, pink, and white, showing a bright overview with harmony. Most of the painting is in the highest degree of lightness presenting the families thriving even during the Great Depression. In addition to the overall colors, Sheets pictures women and children detailedly. In the painting, the women who finished washing and hanging out their laundries are gossiping while leaning on stair rails or sitting in the shades. Sheets paints the irregular-shaped laundries and the square-shaped building and windows, which built a varied and interesting composition. The people he painted all position casually in small clusters illustrating a peaceful and calm atmosphere; no one is working or rushing, and they are simply enjoying the sunshine. The composition of this painting is corresponding with Sheets’ perspective on the tenements.…show more content…
While artist Millard Sheets looked into the life of the immigrants in cities and illustrates his positive viewpoints through his printing, on the other hand, the photojournalist Jacob Riis describes the reality in the tenement buildings, how the immigrants are actually ignored in cities while living in the crowded low-standard shelters, in his work “How the Other Half Lives”. Investigating into the real life living in the immigrant neighborhoods in the New York city, Riis states, “The tenement-house population had swelled to half a million souls by that time, and on the East Side, in what is still the most densely populated district in all the world, China not excluded, it was packed at the rate of 290,000 to the square mile, a state of affairs wholly unexampled” ( Riis). Riis looks into the tenements in New York, which is considered the most populated area in the world, greater than any densely populated areas in the world. Immigrants living in these squalid tenements are usually families, with multiple families sharing one room. In these overpopulated tenements, no drainage system is expected, and the poor sanitary conditions lead to infectious diseases spreading in the area. Different from their expectations, the immigrants find themselves in this position where they could not even live in normal housings. More dreadfully, the poor conditions of the tenements lead to high death rate, as Riis says, “there are annually cut off from the population by disease and death enough

More about The Tenement Flat Analysis

Open Document