4 October 2011
Family Relations and Hope
Different eras and social classes lead to different atmospheres in families. This atmosphere within families has changed throughout the time between the 1940s and the present. Looking back at the paintings, literature, and research from decades ago shows this change. However, readers may still be curious regarding transitions in family environments, even after seeing artistic and literary works from the 1900’s. By viewing the paintings of Norman Rockwell (A Family Tree, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear), people can sense the calmness and happiness in the family of 1943. However, Stephanie Coontz, the author of “What We Really Miss about the 1950’s,” delivers a discerning analysis of what really was going on during that period of time. Coontz claims that it could be misleading to have nostalgia for the 1950’s and subtly suggests that readers think about the ways in which the 1950’s led to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Finally, the outcome of what Coontz worries about is shown in the nonfiction essay called “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” which was written by Joan Didion in 1968. Although the three pieces are very different, Rockwell, Didion, and Coontz examine elements of protection, gender roles within the family, and the way in which perceptions of the future affect families. During World War II (WWII), there was a painting produced by Norman Rockwell called Freedom from Fear that was meant to sell bonds that would be used by our nation to help fund war efforts. In this work of art, the viewer sees a mother calmly tucking in her children; however, her husband, in contrast, holds a newspaper with the headlines “Bombings” and “Horror.” Nevertheless, the picture of the family looks harmonious; the world was seriously impaired. The parents seem to keep this from their children, even though the danger is present in the room. Even though the parents in Rockwell’s painting were at least taking care of their children, the...
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