Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 237
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 237
 
hunted with the pack in the street. As a young man he trains with the gang, because it furnishes the means of gratifying his inordinate vanity; that is the slum’s counterfeit of self-esteem. Upon the Jacobs of other days there was a last hold,— the father’s authority. Changed conditions have loosened that also. There is a time in every young man’s life when he knows more than his father. It is like the measles or the mumps, and he gets over it, with a little judicious firmness in the hand that guides. It is the misfortune of the slum boy of to-day that it is really so, and that he knows it. His father is an Italian or a Jew, and cannot even speak the language

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