Lesson 1 (from A Personal Memoir (and Parenthetical Comment))
In his introduction to Hard Times, Terkel quotes Jim Casy in The Grapes of Wrath when he states that every man has his own truth. This, in a nutshell, is Terkel's reason for presenting the history as a long series of interviews.
The objective of this lesson is to understand Terkel's logic behind using interviews.
1. For class discussion. Read the first two pages of Hard Times and discuss as a class the significance of the Jim Casy quote. What argument is Terkel making about the nature of fact? Is it possible ever to have a unanimously agreed upon truth? As such, how does the interview style of this book reflect the fractious nature of reality? What does it reveal beyond the narratives of each individual interview?
2. Divide the class into several groups and have each person in each group discuss what their experience was the...
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