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How the Cinderella Man Depicts Life During the Great Depression

Essay by   •  May 26, 2011  •  Essay  •  692 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,063 Views

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During the 1920's, the United States was experiencing a period of wealth and prosperity. At the very beginning of Cinderella Man in 1928, the people in the crowd at Jim Braddock's boxing match are dressed in extravagant clothing as women were in gown-like dresses and men were in suits. This shows that people during this time had money to buy such things. Furthermore, after Jim wins the match, his manager, Joe Gould, hands him a thick stack of cash, which again shows that money was in abundance. In addition, many people were highly optimistic about their bets on the stock market, especially Jim himself who had stocks of his own. However, in 1929, the stock market crashed, which ultimately led to the Great Depression. The Depression transformed the American economy for the worst, and affected the livelihoods of the general population, as well as America's moral fabric.

Unlike the prosperous 1920's, the following decade was marked by an extreme economic depression. After the crash in 1929, there were large numbers of bankruptcies and failing businesses due to the inability to pay off mortgages and stock loans. As a result, there was hardly any credit or money to go around and 1 in 2 Americans found themselves unemployed or underemployed. People were essentially broke and desperate for work. In Cinderella Man, Jim loses his job as a boxer in 1933 due to a broken hand and has to resort to finding work as a longshoreman in order to make ends meet. However, work was actually hard to come by during the Depression due to increased job competition. To illustrate, there would be days where Jim would go over to the dock gates and find crowds of desperate men looking for work. However, only a few of these men were chosen to work on any given day. This comes to show just how dire the situation was, but it does not end there.

Not only was the economy in shambles, but the general population was also struck hard by extreme poverty conditions, especially Jim. During the Depression, he loses all of his money and ends up living in a shanty with his wife and three children. They no longer dress as nicely as they used to and they end up looking very poor and shabby. In addition, there was less to eat and drink as his wife would dilute milk with water. In fact, he and his family become so poor that they can no longer afford to pay for utilities, thus losing their electricity and resorting to fire as a means of warmth. As a last resort, he goes on government public assistance in order to get enough money to get by and even requests the man who fired him from his boxing profession to give him money. His hardships parallel those of millions of other Americans during this time and demonstrate that hardly anyone was immune to the effects of the Depression, even those who were very well off were before 1929.

In fact, the Depression was so pervasive that it even affected moral standards. One reason is that it pushed families to

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