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The Great Depression provides the backdrop for "Bud, Not Buddy" and is woven into every aspect of the story. This major historical event of the 1930s impacts all parts of Bud's life. Hunger and want for even the most basic comforts are all that Bud knows. Because of the Depression, adequate foster homes for orphans such as Bud are rare. At the time Bud decides to run away, he is about to be placed in a new foster home. Based on experience, he knows the situation is likely not going to be favorable in a new home. Instead, he decides to run away in hopes of finding his father who he has never met. Due to the Depression, life as a run away is particularly difficult. During his travels, Bud meets many people suffering the hunger, homelessness and joblessness of the Great Depression.
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