Riis (276) argues that certain environmental conditions and relationship of human life and habitation are the prolific causes of corresponding habits and moral. However, the advancing cholera that affected people living in slums made the community take action soon after the war. A citizen’s movement led to the formation of the tenement house act of 1867. This was the first step toward housing reforms that would reform the overcrowded environment. In order to prevent immoral behavior such as drunkenness, every man was supposed to be given a clean and comfortable home. The reason for such reforms was to protect the tenants who were being exploited and not given adequate care. For instance, when they requested for repairs and necessary improvement they were told to pay their rent or leave. In order to prevent the greed of resources that shaped evil and immoral activity, housing reforms were supposed to be implemented for the working masses.
The crane uses the Maggie character to demonstrate how the environment shaped human behavior. In an analysis of Maggie character, he demonstrates that the environment is a great thing in the world because it constantly changes lives despite the situation. The author illustrates the process of the disturbance of Maggie’s family, the way she started prostitution from being descent and how she faces death by committing suicide. This process encounters inevitable consequences of the limited choices provided by the poverty of the New York environment. The author exemplifies the idea that environment shapes human behavior in his use of the urban setting. He does not condemn Maggie’s prostitution, but focuses on the immoral practices in the slum. The human behavior is shaped by environment and a person cannot entirely escape its influence. This is illustrated by the death of Maggie, which show that she was tired of living in such an environment that brought her shame (Crane 157).This shows that the environment setting can change the human behavior in a positive or negative way, but in this case it shaped the human behavior in an immoral manner.
In a recap, the anti-immigrant feeling is partially connected to greater debated about scrounging and reciprocity. I think these works deepened the anti-immigrant feelings, which show a need to exchange things with others for mutual benefit. For Maggie to get money to sustain her family, she had to engage in prostitution. Similarly, the tenants in New York were supposed to pay extra money in order to receive repairs and necessary improvement. However, Riis proposes housing reforms a way to curtail the evil practices in the slum.
Crane, Stephen. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. New York: Filiquarian Publishing, LLC, 2007. Print.
Riis, Jacob. How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Libraries, 2011. Print.