Migrant Mother Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 13 October 2016

Migrant Mother

In the year of 1938 , photographer Dorothea Lange, took one of Americas most captivating and touching series of photographs entitled The Migrant mother. In her photographs, she showed pictures of a mother and her two children, during the Great Depression in which the family seem completely destitute, while setting up camp to find work in the city. This photograph symbolized the Great Depression as it shows how many lives of Americans were affected by the storm and depicts the numerous struggles they had to undergo.

It all started in 1936 where Dorothea Lange was heading her way back home home after she completed a long an tiring photographic assignment where she had noticed signs of a camp. After curiously scavenging the scene, she was immediately drawn to a woman who showed an appearance of saddened pain, hunger and need of salvation where she began taking pictures. The woman she photographed was Florence Owens Thompson, the mother of seven children and on the brink of starvation. While she was photographing this woman she mad notes of what she had encountered, in one she said: “I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food.” little did this struggling mother of seven know that she would later become the epitome of many American families going through hardships at the time.

This photograph was jammed packed with emotions that many was able to relate to. It showed many elements of weariness, pain, anger, destitution, and depression all in one strong yet subtle photograph. After publicized, this photograph not only showed the various emotions that Thompson was feeling, but what many in America was feeling as whole. In a sense this photograph symbolized hope for the nation to strive to make it through the tough economic times.

Migrant Mother was one of those photos which needed no caption to see what was going on. It was one of those things in which you could just simply take a look at and can read every emotion present and or visible. When looking at this photo you will notice the creases on the mother’s face thast shows despair and longing an dhow her desperate eyes had a slight glimmer of hope. You can tell that her children were the pillars of her strength and how she was a woman who battled depression along as many during the unstable financial times.

For all its power and effectiveness at portraying such deep emotions as a photograph, Migrant Mother is truly a work of art. With the mother at the center with two small heads on either side, the image bears the iconic struggle America had faced during the 1930’s emotionally and symbolically, and would continue to go down history as the photograph of it’s time.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 13 October 2016

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