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. According to Doc Graham, what was the only good thing Roosevelt did?

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

3. What does Jimmy Partland say is the importance of a job?

4. How many people does Terkel Interview in this introduction?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How did the Bonus March end?

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

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

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

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

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

7. How did hobos get by during the Depression?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Studs Terkel interviews enough people who lived through the Depression that certain archetypes begin to emerge over the course of the book. Write an essay in which you choose an interview that fits each archetype:

Part 1) Choose an interview from an individual who lost wealth in the Depression and discovered a talent at making money through hard work. Where did this person turn to make money? What did he or she discover about society that this person did not know about before? What is this person's worldview after the Depression?

Part 2) Choose an individual who is disappointed by the fact that the country was not largely radicalized by the Depression. To what cultural-political ideology does this person subscribe? What was his or her personal experience during the 1930's? What hope does this person have for the future of America?

Part 3) Choose an individual who lived in a bubble of comfort in the Depression and was not aware of widespread suffering. What was the nature of the bubble in which this person lived? What is his or her impression of the Depression?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Write an essay about the young people who are interviewed about the Depression in Hard Times. What information do most of them have about the facts of the 1930's? What current events - those of 1970 - concern these interviewees? How are the concerns of the 1930's connected to the present issues? Discuss how the more politically-active interviewees view the consumerist spirit that was born out of the Depression.

(see the answer keys)

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