How the Lack of Education During the Great Depression Affected Southern Society

Topics: Education, Teacher, Great Depression Pages: 4 (1367 words) Published: May 30, 2005
During the Great Depression receiving an education was becoming more and more difficult for southerners. From not being able to afford the required supplies needed, to not being able to pay the tutions, many people found it nearly impossible to attend school. The novel, To Kill A Mockingbird written by Harper Lee shows how the lack of education in society during the Great Depression affected Southerners lives, not allowing them to change their futures for the better.

The public school system changed drastically during the Great Depression. Society started to notice the changes during the years of 1930 and 1931, when conditions were at their worst. Many students did not have the right clothing, supplies, and textbooks because parents could not afford the costs. The price of school supplies ran from $1.00 for a pen to $3.85 for a pair of shoes (Editors of Time-Life 29). In To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline, asked one of her students where his lunch was. He then explained that he did not have a lunch because his parents could not afford it. "He didn't forget his lunch, he didn't have any. He had none today nor would he have any tomorrow or the next day. He had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life" (Lee 20).

In addition, student's schoolwork and progress began to decline due to undernourishment. Many children were not able to stay in school because there was not enough money to keep the schools open. A third of a million children were out of school during the Great Depression (Farrell 14). Also, children of poor families dropped out of school because they felt obligated to help support their family financially. In To Kill A Mockingbird Scout describes the Ewell family, who only attends school the first day of every year because their family is poor: They come the first day every year and then leave. The truant lady gets'em here ‘cause she threatens ‘em with the sheriff, but she's give up tryin' to hold...

Cited: Collins, Gail. America 's Women. New York: Harper Collins Publishers Inc.,
Editors of Time-life Books. Hard Times- The 30s. Alexandria: Time- Life Books,
Farrell, Jacqueline. The Great Depression. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1996.
Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books, 1960.
Sutton, Betty. American Cultural History. July. 1998. 04 May. 2005.
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