Hard Times; an Oral History of the Great Depression Test | Final 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 Max Shachtman, what international event ended credibility for Communism in the United States?

2. In whose administration was David Kennedy the Secretary of the Treasury?

3. Why does Billy Green say he was unaffected by the Depression?

4. Where did Max R. Naiman and his worker's rights clients end up sleeping after he got them acquitted?

5. What was the Actors Union's response to The Cradle Will Rock?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Dr. Townsend's contribution to the Depression-era discourse?

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

3. Describe the incident with the Iowa Judge in The Father Is the Man?

4. According to Elizabeth Wood, how did public housing develop the stigma it has today?

5. In the Depression-era Midwest, how did corn prices lead to corn being burned and pigs being slaughtered?

6. Who was Martin Dies?

7. How does Christopher Lasch explain the possibility of a socialist revolt in the 1930's?

8. Why does Myrna Loy think she never got to meet Roosevelt in person?

9. How does Alf Landon recall his 1936 campaign against Roosevelt in the book?

10. How did Jack Kirkland become famous during the Depression?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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