Books & Literature in the 1930s

Laura Vainio
English 11, 5th hr.

Books were popular even during the depression time. 1930s was very important year to American literature because many American classics were published during that time. People wanted to forget the sadness and struggles of everyday life and  get lost in a totally  different world than what their own world was like because times were though to everyone. Most books focused on, instead in the future, going back to good old days of glory and success. It was the time of blunt and outspoken criticism towards society and poverty. Art Deco was also the movement in the culture in 1930s. In the books that were published during the depression, one can clearly see different themes that were popular.

Fantasy books were one of the most sold book genres in the 1930s. They usually offered an adventure far away from real life and also about totally different problems than what occurred to the readers in their own life back then.

Political and different business books were also popular during that time. People looked for easy ways to get rich and wealthy again and many books offered many different suggestions on that. People also looked for a strong leader who would help them and make everything better in the societies again so political books became one of the most read book genres too. Comic books made their debut too with characters such as Batman and Superman that are generally seen as superheros who save the world from the evil powers.

Humor books were also one of the most read book genres. People looked for laughter and happiness which humor books most often offered.

Popular books in the 1930s

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien (1937)

The Hobbit is a fantasy book of a Hobbit who goes on an adventure with dwarfs. They try to win back dwarfs'  home mountain from a dragon and get back their treasure too.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936)

Gone with the Wind is a story about a girl Scarlett O'hara during The Civil War who loses everything and becomes poor. She decides to do everything there is for her to do to become wealthy again and win the love of her life on her side. Gone with the Wind has noticeable influences from the Depression time. Scarlett becomes poor due to the war but she manages to get back on feet. This was the golden dream of everyone in the Depression time.

The movie poster of the film version of Gone With The Wind

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

The Grapes of Wrath tells about a farmer family who has to leave their home in Oklahoma due to changes in farming and economic among many other farmers and move to California in hope to find land to farm and live. When the rapes of Wrath was first published, it caused wide conversation and debate between critics and readers. It is considered one of the most talked books in their time.


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