Twenty Years At Hull House Essays

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Book analysis topics: Jane Addams' societal ideas in 'Twenty Years at Hull House'

Jane Addams, one of founders of social work, originated from a wealthy family, but her father, conversely to other aristocrats, never denied the importance of supporting the needy, so John Addams worked a lot in order to meet community needs and finally improved transportation, constructed two mills and introduced the first charitable budgets in the district. In the autobiographical book entitled "Twenty Years at Hull House" , Jane Addams explains her motives for the creation of the institution, outlines its main activities and discusses her societal beliefs, which are the commitment of the government to immigrants and the need for socialized education .

Major theses.
1) In her book, the author holds that the American government should be committed to immigrants, as inviting foreigners to the country, it is necessary to arrange their settlement and employment.
2) The scholar criticizes the white-privilege society and insists upon the equality of races.
3) Training at Hull House, as the author writes, is organized in the most optimal way to enhance the residents' social skills.

Primary issues to discuss.
1) Discuss in detail the idea of the government's responsibility for the well-being of immigrants.
2) How do you understand the idea of socialized education? How can it be compared/contrasted to the traditional education?
3) Which examples the "social skills training" does the author provide?

Suggested readings.
1) Addams, J. Twenty Years at Hull House. New York: Macmillan, 1992.
2) Bernard, J. The Female World. New York: Free Press, 1981.

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The Return of the Native
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Twenty Years at Hull House

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Twenty Years at Hull-House

Published in 1910, this was Addams's most successful book; 80,000 copies were sold before her death in 1935. This annotated edition was issued on the occasion of the Hull-House centennial.

"Twenty Years at Hull-House is an indispensable classic of American intellectual and social history, and remains a rich source of provocative social theory. Jane Addams was both an activist of courage and 'a thinker of originality and daring.' Her life and writings exemplify the integration of social thought and action. Addams and her associates at Hull-House had wide-ranging influence not only on the key reform movements of their time but also on major currents of philosophical, sociological, and political thought. Filled with careful empirical observations, reflections on everyday life, accounts of practical action, and prescriptions for public policy, this small volume also embodies such important theoretical contributions as 'The Necessity of Social Settlement,' 'A Decade of Economic Discussion,' 'Tolstoyism,' and 'Problems of Poverty.' Long acclaimed for its autobiographical and historical value, Twenty Years at Hull-House should be read today as much for its enduring insights, critical analyses, and persuasive vision."--Bernice A. Carroll, editor of Liberating Women's History: Theoretical and Critical Essays

"One of the most important books ever written in the United States, Twenty Years at Hull-House remains a classic because it addresses large questions of human destiny and social justice in terms that are as relevant today as they were one hundred years ago."--Kathryn Kish Sklar, author of Catherin Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity

James Hurt is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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