Lange, Dorothea. The Migrant Mother. 1936. Prints and Photographs Div., Lib. of Cong., Washington, DC. Dorothea Lange: Photographer of the People. Web. 7 July 2009.
Migrant Mother represents a scared and fearful mother during the Great Depression in the United States.
Lange’s photograph features a migrant mother with her two sons leaning on her shoulders, and an infant in her lap. Her facial expression of hopelessness and weariness is what captures the observer’s attention. Her wrinkles on her forehead represent her fear for what lies ahead and what the days will bring her and her family. The mother is slouched down with her hand resting on her chin representing her uneasiness and worry. Her eyebrows are squinted together and her mouth is turned downward
to be seemingly frowning. She has dark circles under her eyes along with a light but dirty skin complexion. Her dirty body and unclean clothes represent her poor lifestyle. The look in her eyes is fear and she seems concerned with whether or not they will have food on their table and money to support her children. Her two children resting on her shoulders are faced away burying their faces on their mother’s arms. Their clothing looks raggy and beat up and they have dirt along their arms and necks. The mother is just staring into space and your attention is drawn to the center of the photo, which is the scared look in her eyes. The infant in her lap is serene and seems to be asleep while the mother and her two children look worried and afraid.
The mother’s body language signifies fear and worry, however, rather than being strong for her children, she slouches down looking into the distance. Their body language also shows they all aren’t able to fend for themselves, and are probably starving. Her two sons lying on her shoulders show fear by hiding their faces and rather than comforting her children she stares into the distance. Rather than being strong for her children she knows the future holds many problems so it is hard to be strong. The mother looks unsure and her wrinkles on her forehead signify her confusion and hopelessness. The family looks dirty and malnourished and their dirty clothes portray their struggles and stability during this difficult time.
The mother exhibits anxiety and fear throughout her entire body. The focal point of this photograph is the mother and her eyes gazing into the distance. While she is the only adult in the picture, she represents her entire family and trying to get by during this difficult time. The two boys against her shoulders show fear even though we are unable to see their faces. The boy’s arms are crossed covering their eyes. Although their mother is there to support them, she slouches and doesn’t seem to be fully protecting them because of her body language. Rather than having her arm around them and looking at them to make sure they are okay, she has her arm under her chin and stares into the distance.
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