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FSA (Farm Security Administration) client with mules...

[Detail] FSA (Farm Security Administration) client with mules...

Life Histories

Read about people who lived during the Great Depression by choosing from the life histories below. These life histories are from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940 in the American Memory collections, the Library of Congress. After you have read several life histories carefully, answer the questions on Reading Oral Histories.

For more life histories, search the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940

Reading Life Histories

Read the questions below and keep them in mind as you read and study your selected Life History. Then, answer the questions below based on your reading.

  1. What is the general tone or attitude of the person being interviewed?
  2. What do you infer about the person/family from their tone or vocabulary as recorded in the interview?
  3. What are the circumstances of this person's life?
  4. What seems to have led to these circumstances?
  5. What can you infer about the general emotional state of this person from what he/she says?
  6. Is there anything interesting or surprising about the situation represented by this interview?
  7. What problems or frustrations is the interviewee dealing with?
  8. What adaptations can you assume or infer the person is making to his/her situation?
  9. Explain any assistance or programs you can identify that are presently helping this person.
  10. If you had some power or authority and could make something good happen, something realistic, what would you propose as a way to help the interviewee improve his/her circumstances?

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