5: Image, photograph of a tenement room, circa 1912.
So much of the action in Karpilove’s Diary of a Lonely Girl takes place in the domestic space of the narrator’s rented rooms in tenement apartments. This image of a tenement room may give students a better picture of the living conditions Karpilove’s narrator describes.
Suggested Activity: Before showing your students this image, ask them to sketch one of Karpilove’s narrator’s rooms. Then show them this photograph and ask them to compare their pictures to this one. What surprises them about this picture? How does picturing the action taking place in a room like this shape their reading of the text?
Source: Jessie Tarbox Beals, “Tenement Room,” c. 1915, photograph, Community Service Society Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York, NY, https://css.cul.columbia.edu/catalog/rbml_css_0185.