Hard Times; an Oral History of the Great Depression Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What did many of Arthur Robinson's friends say was the only reason to have money?

2. In a quote in the Introduction, how does the speaker describe the socioeconomic relationship between blacks and whites during the Depression?

3. According to Terkel in the Introduction, what voice dominated the radio alongside Roosevelt's during the Depression?

4. Where did Arthur Robinson keep thousands of dollars during the bank holiday?

5. According to Doc Graham, what was the only good thing Roosevelt did?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Alf Landon recall his 1936 campaign against Roosevelt in the book?

2. What is Doc Graham's attitude toward Franklin Roosevelt?

3. How did Yip Harburg find his way to making music?

4. What was Dr. Townsend's contribution to the Depression-era discourse?

5. In the Depression-era Midwest, how did corn prices lead to corn being burned and pigs being slaughtered?

6. According to James Farley, how did Roosevelt alienate members of his own administration?

7. What role did Elsa Ponselle play in the forming of the Teacher's Union?

8. Why does Myrna Loy think she never got to meet Roosevelt in person?

9. What humiliation did Ward James face seeking relief in the 1930's?

10. How did The Cradle Will Rock become a lightning rod of controversy?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Studs Terkel's Hard Times is an oral history, meaning that it relies entirely on the conflagration of differing ideas. By including voices that speak from different experiences of the Depression, Terkel makes the debate the central focus of the history. Write an essay on this debate in three parts:

Part 1) The topic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's success as a president is among the most controversial in the book. What are the arguments for his saving the United States? What are the arguments against such an assertion? How do these arguments reveal the dueling ideologies in America both in the 1930's and in 1970?

Part 2) Terkel interviews individuals who suffered greatly in the Depression and those who did not, including some who actually prospered in the desperation. How do the two groups' perceptions of the 1930's differ? What facts existed to support both a horrific and a majestic impression of the Depression years?

Part 3) Terkel interviews not only those who lived through the Depression but also their children and grandchildren. How does he juxtapose the worldviews of those who survived the poverty with those who did not? How do the younger generations see the Depression? Can they understand the residual effects it left with those who survived?

Essay Topic 2

Studs Terkel mentions throughout the book that the Roosevelt administration had a vested interest in chronicling the realities of the Depression as it was happening. Write an essay about three of these historical/artistic documents. What specific component of the Depression experience did each highlight? What was its medium? How was it received at the time and since? Why did the Roosevelt administration avoid publicizing that it was funding this sort of archiving work?

Part 1) Tobacco Road.

Part 2) The River.

Part 3) Dorothea Lange's portraits.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay on the psychological effects that the joblessness of the Great Depression has on men in America. What do interviewees recall their fathers doing to pass time and feel useful? Why did men of this era refuse to take government relief and turn so often to alcohol instead? How was America's psychiatric profession unprepared to deal with the effects of joblessness on the population? What obvious causation were psychiatrists ignoring?

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