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What challenges are average Americans facing during the Great Depression according to...

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ljm3515 | Student, College Freshman | Valedictorian

Posted September 30, 2012 at 9:13 PM via web

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What challenges are average Americans facing during the Great Depression according to this song?

Ain't We Got Fun

Bill collectors gather 'round and rather
Haunt the cottage next door
Men the grocer and butcher sent
Men who call for the rent
But within a happy chappy
And his bride of only a year
Seem to be so cheerful, here's an earful
Of the chatter you hear
Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening
Ain't we got fun?
Not much money, Oh, but honey
Ain't we got fun?
The rent's unpaid dear
We haven't a bus [car]
But smiles were made dear
For people like us

In the winter, in the summer
Don't we have fun
Times are bum and getting bummer
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get children
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?

Just to make their trouble nearly double
Something happened last night
To their chimney a gray bird came
Mister Stork is his name
And I'll bet two pins, a pair of twins
Just happened in with the bird
Still they're very gay and merry
Just at dawning I heard

Ev'ry morning, ev'ry evening
Don't we have fun
Twins and cares, dear, come in pairs, dear
Don't we have fun
We've only started
As mommer and pop
Are we downhearted
I'll say that we're not

Landlords mad and getting madder
Ain't we got fun?
Times are bad and getting badder
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get laid off
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun?

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 30, 2012 at 9:33 PM (Answer #1)

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First of all, it is important to note that this song is not actually from the Great Depression.  It was written in 1921.  The song is even featured in The Great Gatsby.  So, this is not a Depression era song.

If, however, you are going to use this as a song that shows the problems of the Depression, look carefully at the lyrics.  The couple in the song clearly do not have money.  They are in trouble with people to whom they owe money.  They cannot afford to have a car or to pay for their food.  This is even worse when they have children.  Children cost money to feed and clothe and they lack that money.  They have to deal with the possibility of being evicted for not paying their rent.  They have to worry about the possibility of getting laid off from their jobs.

In short, the problems described in this song revolve very much around money.  Poor people faced such things as bill collectors, eviction, and the inability to feed their children because they had low-paying jobs and/or because they lost their jobs.

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