A Year Down Yonder Short Essay - Answer Key

Richard Peck
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1. Why does Mary Alice move in with her grandmother? What does this reveal about the Great Depression?

It is 1937, and Mary Alice's family is suffering economic hardship from the Great Depression. She tells the reader that her father lost his job and her brother Joey has joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public works project. Until the family recovers financially, the narrator will have to live with Grandma Dowdel in an unnamed town the narrator dismisses as a hick town. This reveals how difficult life was for many Americans during the Great Depression.

2. What is a main reason for why Mary Alice does not want to move in with her grandmother? Why might she feel this way?

Mary Alice does not want to live in a backwards town with no modern conveniences. She may feel this way because she is used to her urban and more technologically advanced life in Chicago and does not want to give up that life.

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