Iconic and Ironic? Depression-Era Photographs

Instructional Resource

Subjects
Writing
Grade Levels
Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Related Resources

Iconic and Ironic? Depression-Era Photographs

Instructional Resource

This collection includes three photographs by Farm Security Administration artists that use language and image to create an American scene in the late 1930s-early 1940s. The first has become an iconic image of the Great Depression by Margaret Bourke-White, although it has a more specific history that users will learn about. Students will be asked to consider why the first image became so closely linked with the Great Depression, how the artist and author used irony to make a statement, and how different groups may have experienced the Depression in different ways. After reading a passage from Bud Not Buddy (by Christopher Paul Curtis) and answering reflective questions, students will write their own passage about one of the remaining photographs.

Essential Questions:

-How do these artists use images and language to create rich portraits of America?

-In what way do these images suggest divisions or unity within America during hte 1930s and 1940s?

Tags: Bud Not Buddy, Margaret Bourke White, Dorothea Lange, Ben Shahn, Farm Security Administration, soup kitchen, bread line, hobo, hoboes, comparison, irony, descriptive writing