Three Dust Bowl Narratives: Farmer Attitudes, Human Erosion, Women, and Natural Disaster
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This chapter describes the role of American storytellers in bringing a broad set of ideas to life in three US Dust Bowl narratives that endure as part of the US national narrative. Those storytellers include the US Soil Conservation Service (SCS), Hugh Bennett, Russell Lord, Alexandre Hogue, the Farm Security Administration, Roy Stryker, Arthur Rothstein, Dorothea Lange, Jack Glenn, Archibald Macleish, Stuart Chase, Paul Sears, the Resettlement Administration, and Pare Lorentz. Strengthened by developments such as the photo-essay and documentary film, these Americans constructed three compelling narratives, centered on ideas about farmers’ attitudes, soil, and human extinction, and thirdly, women, natural disaster, and civilization. In addition, central to this entire set of Dust Bowl imagery, was the myth of once-mighty civilizations fallen to soil neglect.