The Roaring 20s/Dirty 30s

We’re soon going to start reading a novel that is set during The Great Depression of the 1930s in the U.S.A. I like to get a bit of context for the period/place where the story is set, so we’ll take a brief look at what was going on in that time & place, and get a sense of what it was like for people living then & there.

Your job will be to write a formal letter, using the format described in files you can find by visiting this link. Your letter will be written from the perspective of either a farmer who is about to start a new life in Oklahoma or the surrounding areas in the late 1920s, heading into the depression of the 30s, or one of his immediate family members.

As you’ll see in some videos today, initially, things were looking very promising for the area as there was a bit of an agricultural boom going on, with the U.S. government encouraging people to start a new life and set up a farm in the area. There were, however, some doubts and concerns about the long-term viability and sustainability of the area, and those ultimately proved to be worthwhile, as things deteriorated into the great Dust Bowl of the 1930s (we’ll look at that tomorrow or subsequent days.)

As someone who has been promised great things by moving to the area, you should express your excitement, but some apprehension as well. What makes things look so good? What might go wrong? How does your character feel about the move?

This letter should be written the way your character would speak (as a middle aged man? His wife? His son/daughter?) so try to put yourself in that role and think about how that person would think and speak.

You will be graded on:

  • historical accuracy (show me that you paid attention to the videos and discussion by including facts/details about the time & place – TAKE NOTES
  • how well you write “in character.” Can I get a sense of who this person is & what he/she thinks by reading your letter?
  • creativity & quality of your letter (put some effort into it!)
  • letter format (look back at how these letters are supposed to be formatted. Learn from your mistakes on the first letter!)
  • spelling/grammar. We’ve been practicing fixing these mistakes, so you should know what to avoid. Let’s assume that the writer of the letter is educated and knows how to write fairly well. Use capital letters, proper sentence construction, rules of grammar, and all of the fun stuff you’ve been working to correct lately.

View letter format & an example of a letter here

Videos viewed today:

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