The Chrysanthemums Historical Context

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The Great Depression

Steinbeck wrote "The Chrysanthemums" in 1934, as the United States was just beginning to recover from the Great Depression. The Depression began with the collapse of the New York Stock Market in October 1929, and eventually affected employment and productivity around the world. Banks collapsed and businesses folded. Millions of people lost their jobs, and with less money to spend they bought fewer goods, leading to factory closings and more unemployment. There was no federal "safety net" at that time, so poor and hungry people had to rely on individual states for assistance beyond what their families could provide. In many states, there was no help available. In 1932 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated a series of programs, called the New Deal, to get the country back on its feet. He reformed the banking and stock market systems to make them more stable, created the Public Works Administration...

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This section contains 614 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Short Stories for Students
The Chrysanthemums from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.