Kit Kittredge and the great depression
After the crash of the stock market in 1929, the Great Depression began. The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until 1941 and it was the most severe economic downturn in the nation’s history. It brought devastation to the economy of the United States and resulted in severe problems for the American people. The Great Depression did not only affect the poor people but it eventually did affect the wealthier Americans. With no money, factories throughout the country began to close.
Henry Ford, a man known for modernizing vehicles, shut down his Detroit automobile factories, putting at least 75,000 people out of work. Small businesses and restaurants began to close because customers could no longer afford to go to them. Many people were unemployed and others worked only part-time or had their wages cut. Because of the loss of jobs, living conditions declined. Families moved in together, crowding into small houses or apartments. People gave up even small pleasures like an ice cream cone or a movie ticket, which was their way of getting away from all the distress.
Men who had lost their jobs felt like failures because they could no longer provide for their families and women who had depended on the men’s paychecks worried about feeding themselves and their children. Life was now hard for children; they had to see their homes being taken away and their friends having to move to live a better life. Kit Kittredge was one of those children, one who lived a carefree life until the Great Depression. It was during the Great Depression that Kit Kittredge lived as a ten year old girl. She was a bright, aspiring reporter who always cared for animals and people.
Kit lived a happy childhood, with many friends and a family who loved her. Because her father owned a car dealership and they lived in a beautiful house in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kit felt as if life during the Great Depression would not affect her that much. Kit wasn’t as right as she thought she was. As the Depression progressed, Kit’s family was in more danger than they thought. Her father lost his car dealership and had to leave Cincinnati to look for work. Kit does not have any brothers or sisters so her and her mother are left to take care of the house.
Kit and her mother do well for themselves, selling eggs and growing vegetables. Because of the Depression, Kit’s friends are affected by it more than she is. Her friend Lauren and her family are forced to move into Kit’s house because they lost theirs to foreclosure. Jackie, Kit’s best friend is forced to live out of Cincinnati, with her aunt for a little while, because her parents cannot afford to take care of her for now. Kit sees how her friend’s and the people around her are being affected so she tries her hardest to make things seems better.
Monopoly was Kit’s favorite game, it was what she played when she was bored or just wanted to feel happier for a little while. She and her friend, Lauren, played it every day in Kit’s tree house to get away from everything. They would also play house and pretend that their dolls were their children. Every time they would play house, Lauren would pretend she still lived in her house that was foreclosed and Kit would pretend that her father still owned the car dealership. During the Depression, Kit’s family still had money, unlike Lauren’s family who had nothing.
Kit knew that Lauren’s family was affected more by the Depression than she was and wanted to make Lauren feel happier, not depressed and sad all the time. It was close to Christmas and Kit was writing down everything she wanted. She knew her mom couldn’t afford much so she did not write too much on the list. Lauren was writing down what she wanted for Christmas and all she wrote was “A doll. ” Lauren didn’t have any dolls; she had to sell them so that her family could have some money. All of the dolls she played with were Kit’s, so all she wanted was one of her own.
Kit gave her list to her mother and her mother smiled and said “I will try my hardest to get you what you want Sweetie. ” Lauren gave her list to her mother and her mother started to tear and said “I’m sorry Lauren but I cannot even afford a doll for you, maybe next Christmas. ” When Lauren’s mother said that all Lauren did was say “It’s ok mom, I understand. ” Lauren knew what her family was going through and that the Depression would take away some of the pleasures in life, but Kit wanted Lauren to have that doll. Kit wanted Lauren to be able to say “I received a doll for Christmas. ”
One early morning in December, Kit decided that she was going to get that doll for Lauren. She made signs and posters that read “I’ll tell you anything you want to know about any well-known American for a nickel. It’s to help a friend get something for Christmas. ” She posted them around her neighborhood and left them at the front of people’s houses. She made a stand in front of her house so that people could come up to her when they wanted to ask something. Surprisingly, many people from around the neighborhood came to learn something new from Kit. Herbert Hoover was a well-known American that was asked about frequently.
Because Kit was an aspiring reporter, she knew a lot about Hoover. “These are some tough questions being asked mom,” said Kit to her mother. “It’s ok Kit, you know what you’re doing,” her mother replied. “What does Hoover blame the Great Depression on? ” Kit was hesitant when her neighbor asked the question, but she thought about Lauren and remembered the answer. “Hoover blames the Great Depression on ‘world-wide economic conditions beyond our control. ‘” “Is there anything else I can learn about Hoover? ” asked her neighbor. “Yes, from what I hear he is going to take a more active approach in the Depression.
He and the government are thinking of ways to create more jobs and get us out of this mess,” answered Kit. “Who is Franklin Delano Roosevelt? I’ve been hearing about him around town lately,” said Jason, another neighbor of Kit. “Well, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is running against Hoover in the next election. He is a democrat who ran for Vice President in 1920 but lost. He does not want to deny the existence of the Depression like Hoover, he wants to overcome it. ” After hours of telling information to many neighbors, strangers and friends Kit managed to make enough for the doll Lauren wanted.
She did not tell Lauren that she raised enough money for the doll or that she was going to go out and buy it herself because she wanted it to be a surprise. It was Christmas morning, Kit and Lauren walked down stairs. Lauren was only walking downstairs to accompany Kit and Kit was only walking downstairs to see the reaction of Lauren when she saw the doll Kit bought for her. Kit handed Lauren the nicely wrapped doll and Lauren’s mouth dropped. Lauren ripped open the wrapping paper and started to tear. She looked at Kit and said “Thank you Kit, this is the best Christmas I have ever had. “