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 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, where do Lily, Rob and Buck hear about the Depression?

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

3. Where did Blackie Gold spend his childhood?

4. What did Jane Yoder consider a luxury during the Depression?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What do interviewees suspect would happen in another Depression?

2. During the Depression, what did Terkel do instead of becoming a lawyer?

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

4. What humiliation did Ward James face seeking relief in the 1930's?

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

6. What role did Elsa Ponselle play in the forming of the Teacher's Union?

7. What strange and dangerous episode regarding congressional testimony does C. Wright Patman make?

8. How did hobos get by during the Depression?

9. How were the prisons affected by the Depression?

10. How did Ray Wax's life disillusion him to the idea of strive-and-succeed?

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

Write an essay on the psychological effects that the joblessness of the Great Depression has on men in America. What do interviewees recall their fathers doing to pass time and feel useful? Why did men of this era refuse to take government relief and turn so often to alcohol instead? How was America's psychiatric profession unprepared to deal with the effects of joblessness on the population? What obvious causation were psychiatrists ignoring?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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