By: Andrea L. Thornton
The painting I have chosen for this assignment is the 1921 oil painting, “The Watcher” by American artist, Frank Weston Benson. I had the privilege of viewing this painting on February 23, 2013 of this young woman standing on a white, sandy shoreline gazing out over the waters. The painting was donated to the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, West Virginia. My daughter, Noelle assisted me with taking my picture and I dedicate all of my efforts to her.
I likened this painting to the historical author, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, the young author who left behind the lifestyle of New England to set root in the rural central Florida settlement known as Cross Creek with its palmetto bushes, orange groves, southerners and “gators.” Now that I have set the scenario, I also introduce the thesis for my paper; that the lady in “The Watcher” painting could easily depict Ms. Rawlings to give her, in my point of view, the perfect description of an authentic Floridian author of that era.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was best known for her Pulitzer prize-winning fictional story, “The Yearling.” The young, successful author of the 1920’s who wrote romance novels in New York embarked to discover the unspoiled life in little Cross Creek, Florida on her purchase of a 72-acre orange grove. She was not exactly given star status with the locals (referred by her as “Florida Crackers”) upon her arrival as they did not know what to make of this stranger with her notepad and typewriter (Biblio.com, n.d.). She would walk about watching and writing of the cultural observations which eventually lead to her first of signature stories, “Cracker Chidlings,” but there were those who blatantly did not appreciate Marjorie’s documentation of their lives, as one young mother threatened to whip her to death upon learning that Marjorie mentioned her son in these writings. Marjorie would find that it would take time and trust from the...