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. Which movement sought to replace the American Federation of Labor in the 1930's?

2. Which of the following is not a periodical mentioned by Terkel in the Introduction?

3. What job does Paulson eventually get after educating himself?

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

5. What industry did Jose Yglesia attempt to unionize?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What connection is made between fear and the Depression in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band?

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

5. What did Arthur Robinson experience after the Wall Street Crash of 1929?

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

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

8. How did a small community develop around the Ford plant strike in Detroit?

9. What does Slim Collier's discussion of her father say about the effect unemployment has on men?

10. Why is Jerome Zerbe's interview oddly disturbing?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Roosevelt Administration took special care to ensure that arts professionals were employed in the period of the Great Depression. Write an essay about the changes in the performing arts during this period of history. How did the actors union gain strength at this time? What did traveling sketch troupes have to do to remain viable? To what extent did the theatre begin to tackle more current and controversial subjects? Which famous artists emerged from this crucible?

Essay Topic 2

A recurring question in Hard Times is how America would handle another Depression, were one to occur. Write an essay on this question. What experiences in the 1930's inform the interviewees who answer a question regarding America's ability to handle hard times? How close do these people think the US came to collapse? Do they, by and large, think that America is stronger or weaker as a system and culture now?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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