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foster_new_york_by_gas-light

New York by Gaslight's point of view is very interesting to me. Oftentimes you will see Foster using “you” or “us” to describe the reader, almost pulling you into the story and letting you experience the scenes with him as he's writing them. Particularly in the first couple chapters, you see him try to describe the scenes you're “seeing” as if you are there, however somehow above all of the others that are also there. He acts rather high and mighty while writing the book, talking about exactly (for example) how, where, when, and why to have sex with a prostitute, while also making it seem that he himself would never do such a thing, that “we” (him, as well as the reader) wouldn't do such a thing. We are like flies on the wall in his mind, watching everyone else in the room be sinful while “we” look down at them in disgust. (Oliver)

Foster makes the point over and over again that New York has a sinful underbelly that he sucks you into through his vivid/tabloid like story telling. This story telling aspect key in interpreting what Foster claims about the degenerative aspects of the city. He discusses at length the prominence of bowling and billiard playing as a degenerative form of gambling that runs rampant, and doesn't discriminate to class status (in terms of the gambling, not the institutions themselves). He also discusses the popular but controversial tableaux shows that could depict scenes of varying indecency. By looking at these sections, we can see that Foster depicts some of the institutions mark more of a blemish on the city, rather than a bright spot. (Ewan H)

It's interesting how Foster depicts his telling of how New York is at night. This almost reminds me of someone drawing back a curtain and we get to see the secret undertone of what happens in a city at night when the “innocent” are asleep. This is something that I feel feeds the reader's appetite back then for something that the everyday public was not used to. Another interesting thing is the attention Foster brings to several groups of people which we could consider a sinful and corrupt part of a city. This reading paired with others is strikingly different but we have seen corruption play a role in some of our other readings. (Jacob M)

The way Foster writes New York by Gaslight is through narration which is interesting. It's almost as if he is presenting a play to an audience in real time or giving a guided tour through the city. It makes you think that this story of New York is going to be a good one, when in reality he is highlighting the bad parts of the city. He portrays the city as fancy and well to do on the surface, but as you look closer, he is pointing out the flaws and what is deemed bad by society. On Broadway for instance, you might see a party happening in an oyster cellar, but in reality it's a place where gambling, drinking, and affairs go on and you will only notice as you take a closer look.- Emma Galvin

Foster describes New York not necessarily as a city, but almost like a nature reserve at times. I simultaneously love and hate his phrasing: love for how over the top it is, but hate for how vague and overdramatic he can be regarding important details. That being said, he is still crafting a narrative to be analyzed. While it can be hard to decipher at times, due to a combination of “Neutral Journalism” and his over-the-top tone, we can still see a New York that is amidst rapid change. He discusses aspects all across the city, from the prostitution industry, to early developments of unofficial segregation, to new pastimes being developed due in part to easier transportation.

foster_new_york_by_gas-light.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/15 16:40 by ehighsmi