The Worst Hard Times

The Worst Hard Times Study Guide Chapters 3-5 I. PROMISE: The Great Plowup, 1901-1930 Chapter 3: Creating Dalhart 1. Vocabulary (choose 3 that you want to make sure you know): sharecropping (p. 52), optimism (p. 53), factory farms (p. 53), hooch (p. 54), landlord (56), cannon fodder (57) 2. Make a list of all the names. Who are they? What are their stories in connection with Dalhart and the times told of in this book? 3. Make a list of all the different ways the grass of the prairie is referred to; also keep a list of all the ways the land and the dust are referred to. 4. What were the ways people hoped to make money around Dalhart?

Which were successful and which were not? 5. Who were the ‘girls’? What did they do for the town? (Read between the lines. The actual words on the page are not the answer to this question. ) 6. Who were the people (US origins? European origins? ) migrating to the High Plains? What were they looking and hoping for? Chapter 4: High Plains Deutsch 1. Vocabulary (choose 5 you want to make sure you know): glut (p. 59), wheat mounds (p. 59), bushel (p. 59), debts, naked (p. 60), gamble (p. 60), swamping (p 60), defiant (p. 61), pungent (p. 62), potent (p. 62), turkey red (p. 62), thistle (p. 62), pacifists (p. 2), manifest destiny (p. 64), yeomen (p. 66) 2. When wheat prices went down and then down again, what did farmers do? What do you think of this? 3. Add to your list of all the names. What are their stories in connection with the area mentioned and the times told of in this book? 4. What is the family event in this chapter? Like other chapters, Egan begins telling this story, but then he goes to other events. What is the point of the story he tells us in this chapter? 5. What are the similarities and differences between the story of Russia and the High Plains? 6. What is the point of George Ehrlich family story?

What particular experiences did he and his family have? What were the particular characteristics of George and his culture? 7. P 61: ‘make fun of;’ ‘call them in for questioning;’ ‘refuse them entry;’ ‘mock.. ;’ ‘laugh at;’ ‘deride. ’ What is the subject of and object of these verb phrases? What do you think about this? 8. What countries did people come from to settle the High Plains? Support each place with names that Egan tells us. 9. What is the point of Egan telling us about the immigrants? What did they bring to the High Plains? 10. What does this mean, “Some railroads practiced selective ethnic shopping”?

Chapter 5: Last of the Great Plowup 1. Vocabulary(choose 3 you want to make sure you know): stock market (p. 73), shares (p. 74), foreclosure (p. 79), warrants (p. 78), mule trains (81), tumble weed (p. 84) 2. When wheat prices went down and then down again, what did farmers do? What do you think of this? (I know this was in Ch 4…but what is different or the same in this chapter? ) 3. Although most Americans did not own stocks, they had land and wheat. What happened to the prices of wheat and land after the stock market crash in 1929? 4. There was a peculiar kind of storm. What was it ? What did the storms do? How did people react? . Is President Hoover concerned about food? Why not? 6. How do farmers try to beat the banks in foreclosure sales in Boise City? 7. How much was Hazel paid for her teaching job? Where did the money come from to pay her? 8. What activity did Ike Osteen observe when he was playing at the ghost church? 9. Egan says that Prohibition was a “moneymaker and job creator” (p. 82). What is he telling us? 10. How were black men treated in Dalhart? Give an example. 11. What was going on with the wheat? What idea did President Hoover reject? What did farmers do in response? 12. “A new decade was dawning” …. What does this refer to?

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