A Sheltered World: Remembering the Great Depression in Rural Québec and the Prairies

Type of resource
Author/collaborator
Title
A Sheltered World: Remembering the Great Depression in Rural Québec and the Prairies
Abstract
The Great Depression has been immortalized in song, film, photography, and novels. Much of this cultural production is American, spilling over into Canada shaping how we see our own history. The author examines the depression-era experiences of nineteen rural Anglophones from Quebec and the Canadian Prairies whose life stories were either recorded for this project or whose earlier interviews were archived for future use. The author found that the eight men and eleven women seemed well aware that they lived sheltered lives during these hard times, at least compared to the experience of others and to the dominant narrative of the period. He points out that some were even apologetic. They noted that they had a roof over their heads and were never hungry, as they were able to grow their own food or forage and fish in nearby woods and waters. He notes that again and again, they insisted that they "didn't starve." Still, the author found that there was pride in what their families had to overcome. Resilience is a key trope in the interviews, confirming historian Michael Frisch’s suggestion that people remember the history of the 1930s as biography. The author concludes that in both sets of interviews, conducted decades later when rural life was in sharp decline, and where mass consumption had changed our eating patterns, stories of food and eating together around the dinner table resonated: harkening back to a time of self-sufficiency, family ties, and local community. The Quebec Anglophones whose memories were recorded did so as part of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network's "Spoken Heritage Online Multimedia Initiative (SHOMI)" database.
Type
Master's thesis
University
Concordia University
Place
Montreal
Date
2016
# of Pages
vii-116p.
Language
en
URL
Citation
Røsberg, Tyson L. “A Sheltered World: Remembering the Great Depression in Rural Québec and the Prairies.” Master’s thesis, Concordia University, 2016. https://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/981867/1/Rosberg_MA_F2016.pdf.
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