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. What did Terkel's parents do for a living before the Depression?

2. Who was the one black student in Terkel's college class?

3. How does E.D. Nixon's campaign to unionize the sleeping car porters end?

4. In what war did the Bonus marchers fight?

5. What did Bob Leary's father do during much of the Depression to avoid going crazy?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why was psychoanalysis largely ineffective in the Depression?

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

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

5. How does Terkel explain his purposes in writing Hard Times?

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

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

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

9. Who is Bob La Follette?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In exploring the many divergent movements and personalities that shaped the 1930's, Terkel interviews his subjects about individuals who helped shape the national debate in this time. Write an essay about three dominant voices in America at the time of the Depression:

Part 1) What role did Dr. Francis Townsend play in the national debate regarding helping the poverty stricken? What plans did he offer for taking care of the elderly, and why was he vilified as a result of this plan? What government program eventually emerged from the ideas that Townsend offered in the 1930's?

Part 2) What message did Father Coughlin offer that made him the dominant radio voice, besides Franklin Roosevelt, in the 1930's? What was the appeal of this message to those affected by the poverty of the Depression? How did this populist message transform into something far more insidious as the US approached joining the war against Hitler?

Part 3) What role did Huey Long play in the 1930's? How did his populist policy-making find a national audience, and how did this sudden popularity force Roosevelt to reconsider his Depression policies? Why did Huey Long never run for president himself?

Essay Topic 2

Among the strangest interviews in the book are those dedicated to the plight of farmers in the Midwest, in particular the sections regarding reactions to the price of corn. Write an essay about how the fluctuating price of corn led to massive wastes of foodstuffs. What did farmers do in an attempt to boost the price of corn? What other products did they turn to when the price of corn plummeted to absurdly low levels? What absurd and, later, sensible solutions did the United States government offer?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the far left in America. What were its expectations when the stock market collapsed in 1929? Did it expect that the American capitalist system was completely defunct? How did events in Europe throughout the 1930's affect the coalition of far left groups in the United States? What occurred politically and economically in America that rendered the left toothless by the time World War II started?

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