The Federal Arts Projects
In this supplement-lesson students examine the WPA’s Federal Music Project and Federal Writers’ Project and the politics that made them possible. Students learn how the FMP opened opportunities for female musicians and people of color in the nation’s orchestras, introduced American composers to America for the first time, created orchestras in cities across the nation, and gave 224,698 performances to 150 million Americans at very low prices in both large cities and small towns. In the Federal Writers’ section they learn that the FWP helped launch the careers of famous American writers, including Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, and John Cheever, gathered 2300 of slave narratives (oral histories), which otherwise would have been lost forever, and created the very popular American Guide Series, which focused on the lives of ordinary people, regional history, culture and folklore. (For an examination of the Federal Theatre Project see “Uncle Sam in the Limelight” in The Grapes of Wrath and the American Dream.) The supplement also provides an overview of the politics behind the termination of the Federal Writer’s Project.
For INSTANT ACCESS to this GRAPES OF WRATH Supplement and Lesson
COMMON CORE STANDARDS MET WITH THIS LESSON:
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).