Harvey Girl Harvey Girl by gjjur4356


  Sheila Wood Foard

Study Supplement
                   Harvey Girl Study Supplement

Summary of the Novel

    Born in the rugged Ozark hill country of Missouri, Clara Fern Massie yearns to follow the
advice of her teacher to “Go West, Young Woman.” In 1919, on her fourteenth birthday,
Clara stands up to her harsh father before he can punish her again for “gettin’ above her
    Clara boards a train to Kansas City. She lies about her age and is hired as a Harvey Girl to
work in New Mexico. She is one of the many waitresses in Harvey Houses, a chain of elegant
restaurants begun by businessman Fred Harvey along the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe
    Uniformed in prim black dresses and starched white pinafores, Harvey Girls live in chap-
eroned dormitories and earn good wages. Clara loves the fast pace of her new life, but finds it
difficult to follow the strict Harvey rules. Because of her rural upbringing and Ozark dialect,
she feels out of place, like a “Missoura mule,” working in the Belen Harvey House. Then she
hears that her sister Beulah, an invalid, has contracted tuberculosis. Clara plans to use her
wages to bring Beulah to the arid Southwest for climate therapy, but is fired after the man-
ager learns she is under age.
    Back home, Clara stands up to her father again and leaves the farm once more, this time
with both her sisters and her mother. Now more than ever, she must find a job. At El Tovar,
the famous Grand Canyon Harvey House, Clara is rehired as a Harvey Girl, despite her age,
because she has become a skilled waitress and a poised, capable young woman. Like all the
Harvey Girls—one hundred thousand of them in half a century—Clara is a courageous pio-
neer who follows her dreams to independence.

Topics and Projects for Further Study
Post–World War I Era

   Research the following famous history makers: Carrie Chapman Catt, Charlie Chaplin,
Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Tom Mix, Rin-Tin-Tin, Mary Colter.
   Write a brief paragraph telling who the individual was and what important role he or she
played in history. Which are still well known today? If you could email each individual today,
what two questions would you ask about his or her life? How do you think the individual
would answer?

Careers and Jobs during the First World War

    Research the jobs available to both young men and young women during WWI. What
skills did workers need to get these jobs? Write a help-wanted ad or make a poster for one of
the following job openings in restaurants like Harvey Houses or on the railroad: chefs, cooks,
dishwashers, busboys, cashiers, waiters, waitresses, managers, conductors, engineers, telegra-
phers, track layers and maintenance men, roundhouse machinists and mechanics.
    Set a fancy table in an elegant dining room. Borrow enough linen, china, stemware, and
flatware for one place setting. Research how to set a table. Hold contests to see which class-
mate is the fastest and most accurate at setting a table. (Alternate project: Draw diagrams of
place settings.)

Communications Technology

    Write a telegram or a night letter to a friend in another state. Tell him or her that you will
be coming for a visit and that you are traveling by train. Ask him to pick you up at the train
station. (A telegram must be ten words or less. A night letter can be fifty words. Night letters
cost less than telegrams because they were sent overnight.)
    Design your own regular-sized postal card. Write a message to a friend. Mail it with the
correct postage.
    Write an email message to the editor of a newspaper. Tell the editor your opinion about a
recent news event in your town or state. Find the newspaper’s email address online. Use fifty
to one hundred words.

Historical update
   Western Union sent its last telegram in early 2006. Make a poster depicting the history of
the telegram.

Women’s Suffrage

    Research women’s suffrage in the U.S. When was an amendment giving women the right
to vote first introduced in Congress? It failed to pass, but was reintroduced in Congress every
year for the next forty years. How did the contributions of women during WWI (1914–1918)
help suffragists gain support for women’s suffrage? When did an amendment finally pass
both the House of Representatives and the Senate? When did the required number of states
finally ratify the amendment?

National Parks

   Research the history of national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park. What was
the first national park? What national park is nearest to your home? Write a report telling
how, when, and why it became a national park.
   Visit a national park and write a travelogue giving details of interest and encouraging

other kids to travel there. (Or write about a previous trip you and your family made to a
national park. Include photos, if you have them.)

Railroads and Trains

    Locate a map of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (circa 1900-1920). Make a
poster of the map, showing the main lines of the railway. Pinpoint the locations of the
Harvey Houses where Clara Massie worked. Add other Harvey Houses mentioned in the
    Visit a Harvey House or Kansas City Union Station in person or online. Write an article
for your school newspaper or a classroom newsletter, describing your actual or virtual tour.
    Find pictures of uniforms worn by characters in the novel. These include Harvey Girls,
chefs, busboys, other Harvey House employees, railway employees (conductors, porters,
engineers, firemen, brakemen, telegraphers, etc.), World War I soldiers, and others. Create a
paper-doll booklet of the uniforms plus the dolls they will fit. Draw your own uniforms and
dolls or use copies of photos.
    Research the types of trains (the rolling stock) used by the AT&SF Railway before 1920.
Make a poster with photos or your own illustrations of the locomotives, passenger cars,
cabooses, and freight cars. Write detailed captions.


   Research the history of mules as pack animals during WWI. How were they used? What
happened to the mule industry after the war? Compare and contrast how mules were used
on farms, in war, and at the Grand Canyon. Describe the job of a mule skinner.

Native America

   Give an oral report about Native American jewelry, pottery, and architecture, especially
that made by Hopi, Navajo, and Isleta Indians.
   Design a silver and turquoise necklace. Draw a picture of a clay bowl with a geometrical
design on it. Draw a picture of an ancient Native American dwelling similar to Hopi House,
the re-creation that sits on the rim of Grand Canyon.


    Get the facts about influenza (especially the epidemic of 1918) and tuberculosis (consump-
tion). In a brief (possibly oral) report, explain the causes, treatments, and cures of these dis-
eases. Is either disease a threat to people today? Are there other diseases that may possibly
cause as many deaths as these did? Tell briefly what is being done today to prevent the
spread of contagious diseases around the world.


    Research the geology of Missouri (known as the Cave State), especially the lower Ozark
region. What types of rock formations are in the area? What is karst topography? What is a
sinkhole? What role does a natural, freshwater spring play in the formation of a cave? Draw a
diagram, showing how a cave is formed.
    Research the geology of the Grand Canyon. How was it formed? What role did the Col-
orado River play in its formation? What rock formations exist in the area?
    Draw a diagram or make a model, showing the layers of rocks from the rim of the Grand
Canyon to the Colorado River.

Ozark Folklore

folklore: stories (including legends and tall tales) of a cultural group passed on by word of mouth
tall tales: preposterous, sometimes humorous, stories about mythical creatures or monsters
legend: a story passed down from early times and generally believed to be based on history

    Write a play, starring one of the Ozark monsters mentioned in the novel (gowrow,
whiffle-bird, whistling whompus, snawfus, or Raw Head & Bloody Bones). Present the play,
complete with make-up, props, and costumes. Videotape the performance.
    Write an original tall tale or windy (remember that it’s only a lie if you tell it for the truth).
Illustrate the story and bind it like a picture book. Then become a windy-spinner and tell the
story to a small group or the whole class.


    Everyone speaks a dialect. A dialect is “a variation of a language spoken by a group of
people.” The people who speak a certain dialect use some words and phrases that are dif-
ferent than words in the main or standard form of the language. Clara Massie speaks a dialect
that was commonly spoken by residents of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Some of her
words are still used by the area’s residents. (See the author’s note at the end of the novel.)
The way proper nouns are pronounced can also be affected by dialect. Clara drops the first
syllable of Granny Willhite’s last name, calling her Granny ’hite. Clara also refers to Missouri
as Missoura. Both pronunciations are used today. In fact, there is a friendly rivalry around the
state between those speakers who prefer one pronunciation over the other.
    Report on dialects spoken in your area. Tell stories in dialect. Then retell or transcribe
them in standard English. Create a glossary of the dialect you speak.
    Rewrite a scene from Harvey Girl. (The kitchen scene in Chapter One or a scene with
Granny ’hite will work well.) Change the dialogue in the scene so that the characters speak
standard English. Then change it so that they speak another dialect, one that you know well.
Act these scenes out and let the class discuss whether and how the characters change when
their speech is changed.

Glossary of Ozark Words

   afflicted—having a physical or mental abnormality; diseased
   beggar-lice (n.)—(flat, segmented, prickly seed pods of the beggar’s-lice plant, or weed, also
                        known as Tick Trefoil that cling to clothing, fur, etc. ; the seeds are eaten
                        by birds and deer)
   blue john (n.)—skimmed milk
   clabbered—sour milk that has curdled
   disremember—to forget
   furriner—(n.)a foreigner, or stranger to the area
   grip (n.)-a small bag or suitcase
   grippe (n.)—influenza or other viral illness
   hillbilly (n.)—name for a person who lives in a rural, mountainous region; often used in a
                    derisive way
   holler (n.)—hollow, a narrow valley
   hollered—called out or shouted
   hunker down—to apply oneself seriously to something
   jillikens(n.)—backwoods or remote area away from town
   ornery—mean or ill-tempered
   poke (n.) –a sack or paper bag
   rootwad (n.) –the root ball of an uprooted tree
   sassin’ – talking back
   tetched –mentally unbalanced; not logical or reasonable
   toad strangler(n.)—heavy downpour of rain
   you’uns—like y’all (you all), used to address two or more people or one person as the
               representative of two or more people
   windy (windies) (n.)—a tall tale
   windy-spinner—a storyteller who specializes in tall tales

Themes in the Novel

    Write an essay, explaining one of the following themes of Harvey Girl:
    Clara Massie’s dad says that she’s gettin’ above her raisin’ when she gets a better educa-
tion and a better job than her parents had. Explain the phrase gettin’ above your raisin’ and tell
why Clara believes that living a better life does not mean she has denied her roots. At the end
of the novel, Clara says she is living the American dream. What does she mean?
Do you agree?
    Clara Massie’s dad says that she won’t fit in with city folks, whom he calls furriners.
Explain why Clara is able to prove him wrong. Include details about the cultural diversity in
the American West. Give examples of the dialects Clara hears when she’s working as a
Harvey Girl.
    Harvey Girl is set at a time when women’s groups were fighting to get equal rights and
opportunities. In 1920, forty years after it was first introduced, the Nineteenth Amendment
gave women the right to vote. Explain why Clara Massie calls the suffragists courageous.
Why does the story of their bravery cause Clara to fight for what is right? Are people still
fighting for their rights today? Give examples. Which of your rights are you willing to fight to

Discussion Questions

Part 1 Chapters 1–5

Chapter 1 Gettin’ Above Your Raisin’

      1. What cause did the suffragists fight for?

      2. What is the mythical gowrow? Where does it live?

      3. Who were Carrie Chapman Catt and Charlie Chaplin?

      4. Explain how Alice confused the two names.

      5. When and where does Harvey Girl begin?

      6. Who is Miss Forester? Why does Dad call her a “furriner”?

      7. What happened when Clara didn’t tell a lie and truthfully answered
         Dad’s question about the money?

      8. What is Beulah’s affliction or injury and what caused it?

      9. Why does Clara decide to run away?

      10. Explain the phrase “gettin’ above your raisin’”. What does it mean to Dad? To him, is it good or
          bad? Does getting a better education than your parents mean you are getting above your raising?

Chapter 2 Treed Like a Critter

      1. What is Clara wearing when she runs toward the dark Missoura night?

        What sounds does she hear?

      2. Where does she spend that night? Why doesn’t she run farther away?

      3. Who helps her escape the next day? What does she have to give this person?

      4. Where does Clara tell Alice she will go? What does Clara say she will do?

      5. Right before Clara runs away, what does Alice ask her to do?

Chapter 3 No Place Else to Run

      1. What happens to Clara as she runs to Granny ’hite’s cabin?

      2. Describe Granny ’hite.

      3. Describe Opal.

      4. Who arrives to drive Opal to the train station? What kind of vehicle is the person driving?
         How does this person announce his/her arrival?

      5. When Dad arrives to look for Clara, where does she hide? Why does she hesitate to go there?

Chapter 4 A Ticket to Travel
      1. Where does Granny ’hite get clothes for Clara? Who made the clothes?

      2. Who is in the photograph that Granny ’hite shows Clara? What is she wearing?

      3. What does Granny ’hite mean when she says that Clara was born with itchy feet?

      4. What is pictured on the postal card that Clara picks out?

      5. What did Teddy Roosevelt say about the Grand Canyon?

Chapter 5 Out of the Ozarks
      1. What does Clara wear when she rides her cousin’s freight wagon to the train depot?

      2. What does Clara notice about the Ozark hills as she travels?

      3. What does Clara hear during the night as she sits on a bench at the depot?

      4. Where does Clara get a ticket to travel?

      5. Describe the meals available to travelers before Harvey Houses were built along the railway.

      6. Describe Kansas City’s Union Station.

      7. Does Clara feel out of place when she enters the elegant Fred Harvey lunchroom?
         To what does she compare herself?

Part 2 Chapters 6–10

Chapter 6 No More Blinky Milk
      1. At the lunch counter, Clara watches the Harvey Girls doing their job. What are they doing?
         How do they behave?

      2. Why does Clara order milk and apple pie from the menu and nothing else?

      3. One Harvey Girl tells Clara she had waited on a famous movie star? Who is the star?
         For which comedic role is the star most famous?

      4. Why does Clara decide not to lie when Opal asks if her folks know she is in Kansas City?

      5. Why isn’t Opal glad to see Clara?

      6. What does Opal say she is going to do with Clara the next morning?

Chapter 7 Looking Eighteen

      1. Why does Opal think Clara should go home?

      2. Why does Opal change her mind and agree to help Clara get a job?

      3. Describe Clara’s makeover.

      4. What are the requirements for getting a job as a Harvey Girl?

      5. Had there ever been a Harvey Girl as young as fourteen?

      6. What advice does Opal give Clara about how to act during the interview?

      7. Where does Clara go for the interview?

Chapter 8 Pretty Waiter Girls

      1. Why does one of the two girls also applying to be Harvey Girls call Clara a hayseed?

      2. What are the two girls doing that make it unlikely they will be hired?

      3. What two fibs (lies) does Clara tell on the application form?

      4. Why do the other two girls want to be Harvey Girls?

      5. Why don’t the two girls get hired?

Chapter 9 No Experience Necessary

      1. What stops Clara from leaving before Miss Steel interviews her?

      2. Why doesn’t Clara find it easy to lie about her age?

      3. When Miss Steel finds out that Beulah is confined to a wheelchair, what idea does she
         offer about how Clara can help her sister?

      4. Why does Miss Steel decide to hire Clara?

Chapter 10 Go West, Young Woman!

      1. Which Harvey House are Clara and Nellie being sent to from Kansas City? Where is it? What do
      railroad men call that segment of the AT&SF railway? Why?

      2. What does Clara imagine when she hears about horny toads? Describe a real horned toad.

      3. When the train stops at Harvey Houses, Clara and Nellie watch the Harvey Girls do their jobs.
         What do they think will be the hardest part of the job?

      4. Describe the land west of Vaughn, New Mexico. To what other section of the country does
         Clara compare it?

      5. Why did Nellie want a job as a Harvey Girl?

      6. When Clara tells Nellie about her sister Beulah, what does Nellie suggest she has?

      7. What secret does Clara accidentally reveal to Nellie about herself? How does Nellie reassure Clara?

      8. When Clara disembarks at the Belen Harvey House, she doesn’t feel as homesick. Why?

      9. How does Clara immediately get herself into trouble with the manager, Mr. Phillips?

Part 3 Chapters 11–16

Chapter 11 Green as the Hills
      1. Estevan Chavez tells Clara and Nellie that he has a very important job as a call boy.
        Define call boy and describe his duties.

      2. How does Vi (Viola Vincent, the head waitress) identify Clara?

      3. What does Vi warn the girls about?

      4. Why don’t any of the other girls’ uniforms fit Clara?

      5. Where does Vi tell Clara to start working? Why does Nellie envy her?

      6. Why does Mr. Phillips tell Clara she’s fired as soon as he sees her in uniform?

      7. What does Vi threaten to do if Mr. Phillips fires Clara?

      8. What “promise” does Clara make to Vi when Mr. Phillips agrees to give her a chance?

Chapter 12 “On-the-Job Training”

      1. What noise do Clara and Nellie have to get used to hearing several times during the night?

      2. What is the cup code that all Harvey Girls must memorize?

      3. To what station does Nellie ask Vi to assign her? Why does Vi say no?

      4. What does Floyd, the fireman, order from Clara? Why? How do the other railroad men react
         when Clara gets the order right?

      5. How do the men find out that Clara is from Missouri? What do they tease her about?

      6. When the telegrapher calls her a hillbilly, how does Clara react?

Chapter 13 Butter Knives and Carrots Vichy

      1. Why is it difficult for Clara to learn how to set the tables in the dining room properly?

      2. Why is Clara surprised when Estevan says she will someday be a fine manager of a
         Harvey House?

     3. Why do Clara and Estevan sometimes have trouble understanding each other?

     4. What does Clara think Estevan might have stolen off the table he was helping her clear?

Chapter 14 A Fork in the Road

     1. Why is waitressing hard work?

     2. Why doesn’t Clara’s Ozark accent draw much attention?

     3. Which strict Harvey rules does Clara nearly break?

     4. On their day off, where do Clara and the other Harvey Girls go? What do they see?
        What do they do? Do the girls make the Harvey House curfew? How so?

     5. Describe the fork in the road that the girls see on the adventure.

Chapter 15 Under Suspicion

     1. Why does Nellie want to switch workstations with Clara?

     2. What illness does Vi’s mother have? Where is she?

     3. Why do the railroad men like to tease Mr. Phillips?

     4. What happens when Nellie works at the lunch counter?

     5. What news does Alice write on the postal card she sends Clara?

     6. What does Vi tell the Harvey employees?

     7. What does Mr. Phillips tell the employees?

     8. Whom does Bertha, the salad girl, suspect might have stolen the silverware, linens, and china?

Chapter 16 Catching a Sneak Thief

     1. Why does Clara hope that Vi picks her to work at the important dinner at Casteñada, the bigger
        Harvey House up the rail line in Las Vegas, New Mexico?

     2. Who is the sneak thief? How does Clara catch the thief?

     3. Why does Clara help the thief return the stolen items?

     4. Describe how Clara and the culprit return the stolen items.

     5. What happens when Vi catches them in the kitchen?

Part 4 Chapters 17–21

Chapter 17 The Well Country
     1. What news from home is on the telegram (night letter) that Estevan delivers to Clara on the train?

     2. What does Vi offer to let Clara do?

     3. Why doesn’t Clara accept Vi’s offer?

     4. Describe the Harvey House in Albuquerque.

     5. Which movie stars does Clara think she might see at the Alvarado? Which one does she see?

     6. Whom do Vi and Clara visit during the layover in Albuquerque? What does Clara learn about

     7. How does Clara plan to help her sister, Beulah?

Chapter 18 Caught in a Lie
     1. Why are Carrie Chapman Catt and her army of suffragists touring America?

     2. What job do Nellie and Clara have to do before the suffragists’ dinner? What disappears?

     3. When Clara serves dinner to the suffragists, what do some of the women tell her?

     4. What did Carrie Chapman Catt say in her speech after the dinner? How did Clara react to her
        message? What did she think of Catt and the other suffragists?

     5. After the dinner, what does Vi ask Clara?

     6. What compliment does Vi give Clara?

     7. Why does Vi say she has to fire Clara?

Chapter 19 A Prodigal Daughter?
     1. Who is the first person Clara sees when she gets back to the farm in the Ozarks?
        What is he doing?

     2. To which biblical character does Dad compare Clara? Why does she think she is not
        like that person?

     3. How does Dad react when he sees Clara?

     4. How does Clara react to his threats?

     5. When Clara smells cooked turnips and lard in her mother’s kitchen, what does she make up
        her mind to do?

     6. How does Clara help out at home?

     7. What is another name for the Ozark tall tales that Clara tells to entertain Alice? What are
        these tales about?

     8. When Clara receives an answer to the letter she wrote Bertha, the salad girl, what does she learn?

     9. How does Clara plan to use the wages she saved?

     10. What arrangements does Momma make for Bobby Earl?

     11. Describe what Clara does when Dad whips Alice.

     12. In the wagon, Alice tells Clara that she was playing possum when Dad whipped her.
        What does she mean?

Chapter 20 At Rail’s End

     1. What two movie stars do Clara, Alice, Beulah, and Momma see at the Alvarado? Which movie star
        did Alice wish they’d seen instead?

     2. After Clara helps her family settle in, whom does she confront? What does Clara get from this
        person? Where does she plan to take it? What advice does she give to this person?

     3. Clara arrives at the Grand Canyon on what important day?

     4. Who else is at the canyon on that day? How does Clara feel when she sees these people?

     5. How does Clara feel about gettin’ above her raisin’?

     6. What did Clara see when she looked into the Grand Canyon? How did it make her feel?

     7. What further details does Vi give Clara about firing her at the Casteñada?

     8. When Vi hires Clara to work at El Tovar, what does she say about her age?

Chapter 21 Trails to Tomorrow

     1. Why does Clara keep her distance from Jack Wheeler, even though she finds him attractive?

     2. What surprising facts does Clara find out about Hopi House?

     3. Where did Jack Wheeler grow up? What is his job at the Grand Canyon?

     4. On her day off, where does Clara go to get a panoramic view of the canyon? Who designed this

     5. Who finds her there? What does this person tell her about the rules at the canyon?

     6. Why does Clara feel that her life can’t get any better?


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