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John Steinbeck and the Great Depression: Home

Note Taking Sheet

Step one: Click on this link and then, File and Make a Copy.

Step two:  Login to

Step three: Using the note taking sheet, take notes to answer the questions, below left.

Step four: Draft your research paper following instruction, below right.

Webquest and Suggested Links

Try at least two different sources.  If prompted, enter montytech1 as the password.

Author Biography: John Steinbeck
1. When and where did he live?
2. What was his family like (mother, father, siblings, marriage)
3. How do you believe his life experiences shaped the novels he wrote?

Bloom's Literature
Biography in Context
Literature Resource Center

California (Setting of novel and home of John Steinbeck)
1. What is the connection between this area and John Steinbeck?
2. What is this area like geographically?
3. What are the main industries of this region? What types of crops are grown here?

The Great Depression
1. What is the Great Depression and when did it take place?
2. What are believed to be some causes of the Great Depression?
3. What was the result of the Great Depression on people who lived during this time period?

U.S. History in Context

The Dust Bowl
1. What was the Dust Bowl?
2. How did the Dust Bowl affect the people that were living there?
3. Where did many people go to escape the effects of the Dust Bowl?

U.S. History in Context
Science in Context

Migrant Workers
1. What led to the existence of migrant workers during the 1930?s?
2. What was life like for these migrant workers?
3. Primarily, where did the migrant workers travel to and from during the 1930?s?

1930s Everyday Life/Arts and Entertainment

1. What was daily life like for those living during the 1930s?
2. How do prices of daily items in the 1930s compare to what they are now?
3. What types of entertainment did people of the 1930s enjoy?

ABC-CLIO : American History
U.S. History in Context

FDR and the New Deal
1. Who is FDR?
2. What is the New Deal?
3. How did the New Deal affect people who lived during that time period?

Biography in Context
U.S. History in Context

The American Dream
1. What is the American Dream?
2. How do you think the American Dream changed during the Great Depression?
3. Is the American Dream still something people strive for today?
U.S. History in Context

Questions from:

Grade 10 - 1930s Historical Context Research Paper


Answer the questions from the Webquest in a note taking sheet.  Take more notes on what you find interesting.

Paper Topics

Choose one of the following questions to answer. Synthesize information from a few different sources to respond to one of the following questions in depth.

  • What kind of man and writer was John Steinbeck and how has his writing been received over time?
  • What is special about the Salinas Valley and what connection did Steinbeck have to this place?
  • Why were Americans disillusioned during the 1930s?
  • What was the Dust Bowl and how did it affect America during this time?
  • What made the migrant worker experience unique and distinctly difficult?
  • How did Americans handle the economic and psychological hardships from which they suffered in 1930s?
  • How did the New Deal and other factors contribute to the survival and healing of the nation?
  • How has the concept of the American Dream changed from the 1930s?

Paper Requirements

  • Your paper must have…
  • MLA formatting (12 pt. Times New Roman font)
  • A Works Cited page (follow all MLA7 formatting)
  • An original title
  • A clear thesis assertion
  • Parenthetical citation
  • At least 2 pages in length

Subject Guide

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Jennifer Jourdain
Montachusett Regional Voc Tech School
1050 Westminster Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 345-9200 x5125

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