Topics for Further Study

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The Great Depression is the most devastating economic collapse that has hit the United States thus far, although the current downturn has been compared to it in some ways. Research the various economic theories that attempt to explain both the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the recent stock market drop that helped lead the country into recession. Explain either the similarities or the differences between the two economic collapses, using your research and any necessary visuals such as charts and graphs to support your claims.

Research the history of unions, and identify the very first independent labor union that was formed in America. Write a biography about one of the people who helped to start this union, and describe this union’s initial mission statement or goals.

Research the life of Joe Louis, the famous boxer from the 1930s. Compare Louis’s life story with the life story of Joe Bonaparte in the story. Using examples from the story and from Louis’s life, explain how Odets might have used Louis as a model for Bonaparte.

As part of the New Deal, President Roosevelt helped find or create work for actors, musicians, writers, and other artists, each of which had a separate program devoted to their needs. Research these programs, and pick one that interests you. List the artists and works that came out of this movement, and discuss how they either did or did not make a lasting impression on the arts and on society.

In the play, Joe demonstrates a talent for both boxing and music, which some critics say is unrealistic. Find a famous athlete from history who possessed both an athletic and an artistic skill. Discuss how this person used both of his or her skills.

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