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. Why did Martin DeVries hate Roosevelt?

2. What strange job does Terkel get right after college?

3. What happened to one of Daisy Singer's favorite parks during the Depression?

4. What recollection does Diana Morgan have that draws tears from her?

5. According to Marshall and Steve , the young intellectuals of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, what became ingrained in American society as a result of the Depression?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Who is Bob La Follette?

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

4. How did the Bonus March end?

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

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

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

8. How do interviewees who were young in the 1930's realize something bad happened in the country?

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

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

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

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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