Studs Terkel's "Hard Times" - Book Review

2067 words, 9 pages

Intro Sample...


While it is easy to say that the Great Depression was a time of immense poverty, one is unable to truly grasp its significance without hearing an account of it from someone who experienced it firsthand. Oftentimes, when something is told to us, from textbooks or from professors, who themselves have only some ideas of the actual mentality during a period and therefore can only speculate, we do not give true consideration to the topic at hand. Instead, we are interested only insomuch as it will benefit us on exams, papers and a better grade. However, through firsthand accounts, just as when one reads a fascinating narrative, we are able to get caught up in an individual’s experiences when we put ourselves in their shoes; we increase our... View More »

Body Sample...


One of the most telling quotes Emma makes is ‘it’s very important you learn people as people are. Tomorrow they can be different people. It’s very important to see people as people.” This statement is vital because she focuses on the concept of equality, of which there is little mention in history textbooks. Instead, we are told of racial issues, riots, famine, and desperation. It is particularly essential to note that she was not an affluent individual but was of lower status but did not use this to shift the blame on a race or group.

She shows a lack of discrimination, in regards to race, and the lack of differentiation in how she treats those she comes in contact with. This was her reality. Perhaps the Great Depression changed how she perceived the world. Perhaps at one point, prior to the Depression, she was complacent, content to remain as she was. Regardless she has managed to overthrow the false consciousness and ideology of which she was, most likely, subjected to. Portraying a satisfaction with herself she is able to look at the world, not for validation of self- sacrifice. She is able to objectively look at the world around her and better it. Though her interview is a primary source one cannot rely on it entirely to tell of life during the Great Depression because there is no way to confirm her statements (unless one were to find those individuals to whom she granted aid who would either support or dispute her statements, and even then it is possible that they are making up fabrications). It is also entirely possible that she fabricated her involvement or ...

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