1. Select the interview that you plan to work on from the various options and read it. The links from the Essay #2 description are below for your convenience.
2. Start to map out the essay by answering the key questions. Bullet points are okay.
Who? To whom?
- Who is the person being interviewed? What can we tell about them from the contents of the interview or from the context information that is provided? If there are clues to their identity in the interview itself, note down relevant quotes or examples that support your conclusion.
- Who is the person doing the interviewing? What can we tell about them from the contents of the interview or from the context information that is provided? If there are clues to their identity in the interview itself, note down relevant quotes or examples that support your conclusion.
- Can you tell anything about how the interviewer views the interviewee, or vice-versa, from the content of the interview? Consider: is the interview written down in dialect? Why might that be? What is the tone of the conversation? Does it seem relaxed? Rushed? Confident? Shy? Note down examples that support your ideas.
- Does the interview read like just any old conversation, or do you think that the person that is being interviewed has a specific purpose in mind for participating in the interview or talking about the person?
- What is the Federal Writers' Project? How does this interview fit with that?
â€‹When and where does the interview take place?
What is interesting about the story that is being told? What are the highlights/key points? What are the parts that you think might be revealing? What parts speak to the Depression, or to being poor during the Depression, or to being a migrant worker during the Depression, or to being a woman during the Depression?
Is the "how" of how the interview takes place, or the way the person tells their story, or the way the story was written down, revealing in any way? Note examples that might explain what you mean.
Finally, after having read and thought about the interview, what do you think would be relevant background information or context information to explain how this person's story fits into the Depression? What topics or ideas might you want to read or write about? (For example, if the interview is with a migrant from Oklahoma, you might want to find out more about the Dust Bowl - you'd note that here.)
Links to the interview choices:
“American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940”: Subject “Depression Victims’ Stories”: This page lists 24 different interviews with people that the WPA writers considered Depression victims. These are texts, not audio files - click on the title to find out more information, and then click on the link for the PDF under the picture of the document on the left to get to the text of the interview.
ONLY ONE PAGE