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. According to Harburg, who suffered most when the financial system collapsed?

2. What book does Terkel quote in the introduction to explain his purpose in writing this history?

3. What food can Dorothe Bernstein not stand because of her days in an orphanage?

4. What did Slim Collier's father do before the Depression?

5. How did Phyllis Mortimer's brother feel about her working in the 1930's?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How did Blackie Gold end up maintaining national forests in the 1930's?

3. What does Phyllis Mortimer do when her family falls on hard times in the 1930's?

4. How was Dr. Lewis Andreas converted to union support in 1937?

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

6. How did hobos get by during the Depression?

7. How did Mrs. Winston Roberts of Chicago survive the Depression?

8. What resources for the transient did Ed Paulson discover during the Depression?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

Over the course of Hard Times, Studs Terkel interviews several individuals who held powerful elected positions during the Depression. These men took different positions on the issue of the day, and these positions were best expressed in terms of their support or opposition to FDR. Write an essay about these three figures. What did they think of FDR and the New Deal? How did each attain the power they enjoyed in the 1930's? Was each able to make a definitive mark on the country at this time?

Part 1) C. Wright Patman

Part 2) Stanley Fish

Part 3) Alf Landon

(see the answer keys)

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