history 2 - 1 Cigarette Street Joseph Hirschey History 106...

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1 Cigarette Street Joseph Hirschey History 106 – 21
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2 History 106 Section 21 Tobacco Road The industrialization of the United States proved to be an interesting and controversial era. These times were very troubled for those involved in agriculture around the country. The mass migration from rural to urban areas, the lack of employment offered, low pay, and dramatic changes in lifestyles were only some of the reasons behind these problems. Many writers depicted their versions of the way of life during this time through novels or speeches. Erskine Caldwell, one such author, wrote the novel Tobacco Road in an attempt to portray the difficulties of life in this point in time. Caldwell revealed a massively negative image of life in the American South because of the overwhelming poverty and bad conditions. The devastating amount of underprivileged people living in rural areas and their quality of living was an important topic in this novel by Caldwell. For example, Lov Bensey, one of the men that attempted to make the transition from farm work to coal shafts, gave and entire weeks pay among other things, as a gift for marriage. This large section of income forfeited by him amounted to a measly seven dollars, showing the way workers were essentially abused during this time. Another example is found when Dude, the son of the main character, Jeeter Lester, stated that he had not “had a new pair of overalls since [he could] remember” (37). Later, when the Lester family finally ate, they referred to it as “the first time that day that any of them had had food, and it would probably be the last” (109). These quotes prove the pitiful state of existence and how poor the Lesters really were. For Jeeter to be able to attain food at all, he had to resort to
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3 stealing from his own son-in-law. While regretful for a moment, he had done it before and would do it again, driven by the hunger and overall poverty in his situation. Throughout this story, Jeeter had the ability to get a job at the coal mines, but it would have been such a dramatic change for him that he could not fathom abandoning the land left for him by his father. The physical conditions of the poverty ridden people were also a major issue of
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course HIST 105 taught by Professor Grayzel during the Spring '08 term at Ole Miss.

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history 2 - 1 Cigarette Street Joseph Hirschey History 106...

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