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The Famous Nameless Farmers

In The Travel Habit, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Amar

Agee’s main purpose in writing Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and the other volumes in his series (Three Tenant Families) was to create a comprehensive and immersive narrative of the human existence experienced by white cotton farmers in Alabama. This was incredibly marketable, it was previously unimaginable to most readers of the New York magazine from which he had …

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Hope and Dignity, can you survive without the carbs?

In The Travel Habit, Photo-Text books by Amar

“These people are not hand-picked failures. They are the human materials cruelly dislocated by the processes of human erosion. They have been scattered like the shavings from a clean-cutting plane, or like the dust of their farms, literally blown out.” – American Studies at the University of Virginia online In the 1930s, times were a’changing, and no one knew what …

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The Day the Pharaoh Became White

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (1) by Amar

In Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family is moving from Oklahoma to California. The fourteenth chapter marks an interesting transition between the death of Grandpa Joad and the start of Ma and Al’s story. It is a short, philosophical speech describing the great changes sweeping across America, and the great unnecessary panic it caused. Steinbeck is emphatic that mankind …

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The Road to Nowhere

In The Travel Habit, Tourism during the Depression by Ian

Having been born well after the 1930’s I had often wondered how the idea of travel especially the idea of vacations became tied to the american way of life. One thing the past readings have shown is that the idea of traveling as a form of relaxation was not present in writings from traveling authors who visited and wrote about …

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The New World

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (2) by Snacks

I enjoyed Jason Spangler’s We’re on a road to nowhere: Steinbeck, Kerouac, and the Legacy of The Great Depression about as much as I’ve enjoyed any reading this semester. The reading was insightful and provided a lens into how two of the seminal American literary masterpieces, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road are actually …

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The Perception and Efficacy of 1930s Literature

In The Travel Habit, Travel Fiction by Snacks

I’m actually grateful that I read William Solomon’s Politics and Rhetoric in the Novel in the 1930s a bit later on in the semseter as oppose to towards the beginning of the semester. After diving into the literature of 1930s this past month and a half, it is enlightening to read about how scholars with perspective objectively consider the literature …

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Commodification of American Cities

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Melanie

In the article “The American Guide Series: Patriotism as Brand-Name Identification,” Andrew Gross addresses some of the inherent issues with the writing of the WPA guidebooks as they relate to tourism in America. In the article, Gross explains that the purpose of these guidebooks was to bring about consumer spending, which could potentially boost the economy during times of extreme …

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Sacrifice by All for All

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Snacks

Steven Kurutz’s “The Depressing Food of the Depression, in ‘A Square Meal’ “ is a fascinating read, and one I had been looking forward to all semester. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience in the course, but whenever I visited our class website,, the link to the Kurutz piece was always the first article that popped …

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The American Dream is just a dream

In The Travel Habit, West (2) by Kiril

I wrote in my first post on Lemuel Pitkin that his optimism is meant to be parodied in West’s novel, but that I was not entirely convinced—that I still found it somewhat inspiring to witness such a character be so optimistic throughout such trials and tribulations. However, it is worth noting that aspect of Nathanael West’s writing which intended to …

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The Commodification of Travel.

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Ian

It is clear when looking at the travel guides were used for the commodification of differences. Before the government initiative of the travel guides the difference in lifestyles was already present in modern literature and art, artists were already using the cultural hardships of others to get ahead. But the travel guides went a step farther in, “it transforms local …

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Agee’s Poetic Social Documentary

In The Travel Habit, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by EsabelleYC

Coupled with American photographer Walker Evans, James Agee traveled the Alabama clay highways. In “Let us now praise famous men,” they illustrate the life of the Southern tenant sharecroppers during the Great Depression. The book was initially planned as an article for the Fortune magazine about poor white cotton farmers in the American South. But after months in the South, …

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The New Consumer

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by Dennis

The American Guides Series was published during the Great Depression as a work detailing major landmarks and attractions of each state of the country at the time. The initial reaction to these works is that they were simply guides to the country that were meant to promote tourism. However, recent scholars have identified these guides as problematic from a cultural and economic …

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Dramatic Effect

In The Travel Habit, Photo-Text books by EsabelleYC

Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photojournalist. Her photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Lange was unarguably well-off with the profession of taking portrait photos for the rich, but she later devoted her entire career to traveling around the country and recording the real poverty-stricken society by taking portraits for migrant workers. I was incredibly impressed by the …