Literature of the Great Depression: A Survey

Best Essays
Literature of the Great Depression: A Survey The Great Depression, beginning in 1929 and continuing throughout the next decade, was a time of extreme economic decline, devastating people of nearly every social class, race, age, and geographic region. Millions of unemployed Americans everywhere suffered the burdens of poverty, homelessness, and crime. While vast numbers of citizens lined up in long bread lines, waiting for hours for the small amount of free food offered by government relief agencies; many others, outraged by their living conditions, took to the streets to protest, sometimes violently, demanding that the government take immediate action to alleviate their suffering. It is these images of such widespread trouble, distress, and social and political upheaval, that sparked the attention of literary writers everywhere. As literary writers assessed these new situations brought on by the Great Depression, one group in particular, the South, piqued the interests of many writers. Economic as well as environmental factors, such as drought and the Dust Bowl, adversely affected the South 's economic dependence on agriculture; forcing many farmers into poverty, and driving thousands from their homes elsewhere in search of better opportunities. It is these immense economic adversities as well as vast human suffering experienced by the South that drew interest from many literary writers, making the South the subject of many famous and important works of literature, and thereby securing for the Southern regions an important historic niche in the history of the Great Depression in America. By examining the literary depictions of Southern life during the Great Depression, of works such as The Grapes of Wrath, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and Tobacco Road, we gain essential insights into the cultures, lifestyles, and sentiments of those Americans hardest hit by the Great Depression; farmers and sharecroppers in the American south. Among those works of


Cited: Agee, James, and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. 1941. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1988. Austgen, Susan A. "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Agee and Evans ' Great Experiment." Agee and Evans ' Great Experiment. Web. 04 May 2012. . Coogle, Matt. "The Historical Significance of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." The Historical Significance of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Web. 05 May 2012. . Hendrick, Veronica C. "John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath (1939)." Pop Culture Universe: Icons, Idols, Ideas. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 8 May 2012. Hinton, Rebecca. "Steinbeck 's 'The Grapes of Wrath. ' (John Steinbeck 's book)." The Explicator 56.2 (1998): 101+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 8 May 2012. Humphries, David T. “Returning South: Reading Culture in James Agee 's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and Zora Neale Hurston 's Mules and Men.” The Southern Literary Journal 41.2 (2009): 69+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 April 2012. Jackson, Bruce. "The Deceptive Anarchy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." The Antioch Review 1999: 38-49. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 5 May 2012 . Quinn, Jeanne Follansbee. "The Work Of Art: Irony And Identification In Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." Novel: A Forum On Fiction 34.3 (2001): 338. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 May 2012. Rothstein Arthur. Fleeing A Dust Storm. Cimarron City, Oklahoma. 1936. Web. 10 May 2012. Silver, Andrew. "Laughing over lost causes: Erskine Caldwell 's quarrel with Southern humor." The Mississippi Quarterly 50.1 (1996): 51+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 May 2012.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    Literature Review These sources discuss causes and effects of the Great Depression which happened around the 1929 until mid-1930. Here, the authors analyses and mentions some of the causes and effects of this depression that affect not only the United States but other countries as well. It will also be review some statistics and facts originated by the Great Depression. Source: Gay, E.F., 1932. The Great Depression. Foreign Affairs, 10(4), pp. 529-540. The author mentions and describes that…

    • 969 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Best Essays

    Literature Survey

    • 1873 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Literature Survey Rosa L. Coley Concordia University An Action Research Report Presented to The Graduate Program in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Education February, 24, 2013 Literature Review In their study, Grant, Richardson, and Forsten (2000) stated that a 1913 memo from the U.S. Department of interior touted that looping as one as one of the most important issues facing urban schools: “Shall teachers in graded…

    • 1873 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Good Essays

    Lesson 4 Discussion Fremont High School “Jonathan Kozol” Jennifer R After reading Jonathan Kozol’s essay on Fremont High School in Los Angeles, I had to stop and rethink every detail I had just read describing the schools appearance, education offered and the overall sanitation of the school. I simply did not realize the school systems in the United States today were in such horrible conditions. While describing the school itself I learned it consist of roughly 5,000 students. The perimeter…

    • 447 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Attitude Survey: Depression One of the most widely controversial and contemporary issues in today’s world revolves around depression and the increasing numbers of individuals who are diagnosed with depression. It may benefit some patients and even clinicians to conduct a quick and easy depression survey before they get into a costly affair. Although, a more effective measurement would require a more elaborate testing measure, the depression survey designed will determine quite simply if further…

    • 717 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Great Depression

    • 2099 Words
    • 9 Pages

    instances that point to the mother possibly being a victim of postpartum depression. Emily. Although the consequences of the mother’s choices have already taken effect, she can’t help but to think about what she could have done or what Emily could be if she’d made the “right” decisions, as deemed by then society’s standards. The setting takes place during a time of struggle and hopelessness in the United States, the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The birth of Emily, in this trying time, made for…

    • 2099 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Great Depression

    • 7213 Words
    • 29 Pages

    Great Depression From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia {draw:frame} Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother depicts destitute pea pickers in California, centering on Florence Owens Thompson, age 32, a mother of seven children, in Nipomo, California, March 1936. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression) in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s…

    • 7213 Words
    • 29 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Great Depression

    • 2464 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Causes and effects of the Great Depression in The United States Name: Qicai Li Course: ECO 258 Professor: Dr. Yasser Fahmy Date: Dec. 8, 2011 Word count: 2050 Abstract This paper discusses and analyzes the causes and effects of the Great Depression which happened in the United States during 1929 to late 1930s or early 1940s. The causes of the Great Depression are several, for example, the drastic decline in the quantity of money in industrial economies and the drops of the price on agricultural…

    • 2464 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Great Depression

    • 545 Words
    • 3 Pages

    “The Great Depression” Thesis Statement: “The Depression reached into every area of economic life, and thus into every area of social life as well.” I. There were different factors that lead to the Great Depression. A. Construction and automobile industries began to decline due to lack of diversification. B. Supply was greater than consumer demands. C. Crop prices were low, so farmers could pay off their debts. D. International trade began to decline. E. The international…

    • 545 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Great Depression

    • 2876 Words
    • 12 Pages

    Great Depression within the Context of Stability and Role of IMF 1. Introduction: Rising Waves of Globalization and Economic Crises Globalization is a multidimensional process. Relatively speaking, economic globalization is the integration of national economies into the international economy in order to constitute a unique global market. In this thesis, the role of WTO in the economic globalization process after 1950 and its place in contemporary economic system are studied. GATT, having an institutional…

    • 2876 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Great Depression

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The Great Depression From 1929 to 1941, the United States suffered through its greatest economic crisis in its history. Millions of people lost their jobs and went hungry. At this time, it was unclear whether the United States would ever recover. From the Great Depression origin of the 1929 stock market crash to its conclusion at the start of World War II, our country and its people will never be the same. The effects of the Great Depression can still be felt today. The stock market crash…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays