House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

by Woody Guthrie

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House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:45 pm

Why has there got to be always something to knock you down? Why is this country full of things you can't see, things that beat you down, kick you down, throw you around and kill your hope? Why is it that just as fast as I hope for some little something or other, that some kind of crazy thievery always, always, always cuts me down? (pg. 15)

Is this a sentiment or feeling that you think people today can identify with?
In what way?
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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:58 pm

I think it is part of the human condition. Many of us, when we dream, we dream bigger than reality. And sometimes we fail to take into account that there are obstacles in life all along the way and even successful people have had to struggle to achieve; if a person figures the percentage of, say, a good baseball player, it would be apparent that even the best don't hit a homerun every time. And some of it is more simple -- without money it is difficult to get an education, without an education it is difficult to make a big salary, thus being poor can propagate itself.

I think it is natural to feel "down" when things go wrong and somehow feel that things "always" go bad for us and things will "never" get better. Probably every one of us has been there at some time.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby Buster » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:12 pm

While I can certainly see why Ella May feels this way, and why many people today also feel as if the world is out to get them, it's not a way I personally want to look at things. Believing that there is something out there that is going to knock you down just leads to bitterness and defeat. I actually believe that if I look at all the gifts that I am constantly being given, the kindness of other people, the sheer miracle that I am alive and able to think, the awesomeness of the planet we live on, then I can only marvel at how lucky I am. And I believe that Tike must have felt some of that same way, and that that was his real gift to Ella.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby Liz » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:04 am

I think that the current economy can make people feel this way - high taxes, losses in our retirement funds, home foreclosures, layoffs, competition for jobs, the competition to get into college, student loans. I could go on and on.

It can be very discouraging to grow up in this day and age. It is also difficult for retired people on a fixed income, as well as the generation in between trying to just keep afloat and looking toward a very bleak retirement. I find it all very overwhelming.
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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:19 am

I think I'd agree more with what Buster said, but then I'm British and the things you talk about Liz don't seem to be the same over here as it probably is over there .

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:54 am

I think many of the financial pressures that Liz talks about are at least partly a sign of our changed expectations as a society as well. In Tike and Ella May's time they were hoping for a little piece of land where they could work their fingers to the bone for basic staples of life and a few small luxuries. Retirement often meant an extended family with grandparents living in the same home as adult children and helping with chores around the place. Today we want larger homes filled with electronics and at least two nice vehicles. College is an expectation for everyone because skilled labor -- or labor in general -- does not have the same value in prestige or earning power as it once did. Tike and Ella May would not have understood the concept of designer jeans and purses. Retirement brings thoughts of travel for pleasure. So much has changed. Good or bad, I am not sure.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby ladylinn » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:41 pm

Today alot of people can feel this way. They have worked hard and suddenly the bottom can fall out. But every generation has had to deal with something that can knock them down - drought, war, depression of the 20's & 30's, bank failures, sometimes just bad luck. But folks must pull themselves up - get tough and get going again. Find the things that are most important - faith, family, friends. Be thankful of what we have not of what we want.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby Liz » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:24 am

ladylinn wrote:Today alot of people can feel this way. They have worked hard and suddenly the bottom can fall out. But every generation has had to deal with something that can knock them down - drought, war, depression of the 20's & 30's, bank failures, sometimes just bad luck. But folks must pull themselves up - get tough and get going again. Find the things that are most important - faith, family, friends. Be thankful of what we have not of what we want.

I just don't want to end up homeless.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:31 am

Liz wrote:
ladylinn wrote:Today alot of people can feel this way. They have worked hard and suddenly the bottom can fall out. But every generation has had to deal with something that can knock them down - drought, war, depression of the 20's & 30's, bank failures, sometimes just bad luck. But folks must pull themselves up - get tough and get going again. Find the things that are most important - faith, family, friends. Be thankful of what we have not of what we want.

I just don't want to end up homeless.

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:21 pm

fireflydances wrote:Why has there got to be always something to knock you down? Why is this country full of things you can't see, things that beat you down, kick you down, throw you around and kill your hope? Why is it that just as fast as I hope for some little something or other, that some kind of crazy thievery always, always, always cuts me down?


I thought Ella was talking about bankers, real estate agents and the entire system by which people in the 1930s were deprived of land ownership.

There are many "invisible" systems around. The stock market goes up and down in ways that even stock analysts find hard to predict. Whether or not a given bank allows you to borrow money is the product of many factors - the community you live in, the bank's own credit situation, the economy, your race, whether or not you're married, and who you know. You may or may not get good health care on the basis of another raft of factors -- things you can't by yourself control. The same goes for schooling.

Good people throughout the world have invisible hoops to jump through that hold them back. When we get to the very bottom of what appear to be established, logical systems for making good business decisions we find lots of ignorance and fear.

If anything, we could use a lot more transparency in the process of financial decision making.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: House of Earth Question #15: Something to Knock You Down

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:31 pm

I think there is a section of our society in every generation that feels this way. The inequities between haves and have nots have always existed and probably always will. The Beat Generation got it's name from feeling "beat" down. Look at the immigrants coming off the boats from Europe, or the slaves and the poverty after the Civil War. After you get knocked down enough it's easy to think you will never get a break.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!


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