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. How does Diana Morgan describe herself at the beginning of her interview?

2. What does Diane, the young journalist in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, resent about her parent's fixation on the Depression?

3. Peggy Terry says in Hard Travelin' that what disappeared from her life during the Depression?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. How did hobos get by during the Depression?

10. How did William Benton make his fortune?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The federal government went through a series of processes in its attempt to react to the 1929 crash of the stock market and to stem the sinking of the national economy. Write an essay about these attempts at governmental assistance and how they did or did not succeed:

Part 1) How did the Hoover administration react in the immediate aftermath of Black Tuesday? Discuss what sort of governmental initiatives went into place, and whether the administration succeeded in stemming the decline or allaying fears in the general populace. What unrest cropped up at this time?

Part 2) Discuss the first steps taken by the Roosevelt administration upon its arrival into office. What, specifically, was the NRA? What powers did this administrative body offer Roosevelt to place limits on the private sector? Why was the NRA preemptively shut down soon after its creation?

Part 3) How did the Works Progress Administration prove to be more effective at stemming destitution than simple relief? What did this desire of Americans for work programs say about the country's work ethic? What were some material results of the WPA?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The Great Depression was a period of time during which large organized movements sought to restructure American society. In a three part essay, discuss how several organized groups went about attempting the recreation of a country:

Part 1) What hole in the union movement did the CIO fill in the 1930's? What tactics did the unions use in the rust belt in order to organize industrial workers? What opposition did they face? How much success did the CIO achieve over the course of the Depression? How did its relationship with the AFL change in this time?

Part 2) How did the American Communist movement surge in popularity during the Hoover years, and how did events in Europe destroy much of its credibility? To what extent did Roosevelt's New Deal destroy its ability to accomplish its goals in the 1930's? What members did it lose after Roosevelt built his coalition?

Part 3) How were both the Catholic Worker and the Wobblies different from the unions and the Communists? What was each group's guiding philosophy? Did either one form a coalition during the Depression? What happened to them after the Depression?

(see the answer keys)

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