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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. In his interview, Doc Graham says that in the 1930's he was the country's best what?

2. Where did some vets stay in Washington, DC during the Bonus March besides the Hoovervilles?

3. What promise did Upton Sinclair make to his supporters during his run for governor of California?

4. At the end of High Life, what does Judy blame for the Depression?

5. What inversion of racial relationships happened regarding Robin Langston's father during the Depression?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did the effects of the Crash become apparent in Terkel's parents' business?

2. What does Peggy Terry have to say about race and the Depression?

3. How was Robin Langston's family affected by the Depression?

4. How do interviewees who were young in the 1930's realize something bad happened in the country?

5. Who is Bob La Follette?

6. Describe E.D. Nixon's struggle to unionize sleeping car porters.

7. How did the Bonus March end?

8. How did the "southern belle" Diane Morgan become socially conscious in the 1930's?

9. How did the jazz community take care of its own in the Depression?

10. How did blues and alcohol play a defining role in Terkel's college years?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the Horatio Alger narrative and how the Great Depression forced individuals to reassess the legitimacy of it. Which interviewees in the text subscribed to the strive-and-succeed philosophy of Alger? Did any of them succeed? Of those who failed, what elements in the 1930's work environment proved incompatible with the rags-to-riches mythology? What did these people discover as a new philosophy?

Essay Topic 2

Studs Terkel interviews enough people who lived through the Depression that certain archetypes begin to emerge over the course of the book. Write an essay in which you choose an interview that fits each archetype:

Part 1) Choose an interview from an individual who lost wealth in the Depression and discovered a talent at making money through hard work. Where did this person turn to make money? What did he or she discover about society that this person did not know about before? What is this person's worldview after the Depression?

Part 2) Choose an individual who is disappointed by the fact that the country was not largely radicalized by the Depression. To what cultural-political ideology does this person subscribe? What was his or her personal experience during the 1930's? What hope does this person have for the future of America?

Part 3) Choose an individual who lived in a bubble of comfort in the Depression and was not aware of widespread suffering. What was the nature of the bubble in which this person lived? What is his or her impression of the Depression?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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