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Migrant Mother: The Famous Image of Poverty and Suffering

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The photo that could be the most known and recognizable about the time were destruction, suffer, poverty and death invaded United States, and later on spread out through the rest of North America and Europe. This famous picture is called Migrant Mother taken by Dorothea Lange (1936), one of the most famous photographers at that time. The protagonist is Florence Owens Thompson, a thirty-two years old mother, that experienced all the consequences that made Great Depression part of the history. This photo has a big power to speak by itself that make people transport back to this time and feel what it was like to have lived what this mother did and so many other families. This photo became significant that it is recognizable as a symbol to remember the Great Depression, because the impact it creates capturing the extreme hardship and poverty that many families suffered during it.

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This photo transmits the reality that once was lived on the land. This is because the person it is real with real problems. The viewer can perceive all of these because the feelings, emotions and all that she had been through can be sensed throughout the photo. The desperation and preoccupation of this mother to feed her children, it is noticeable in her face, and this natural expression makes this photo came alive. Lange said that she did not remember explained her presence and camera, but she did not say anything about it, the only thing that woman told her was that “they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed” (Austin 341). The situation was very extreme that made this anguish mother take desperate decisions, that she agreed to let her take these photos with the hope that some day this will help her in some way. The viewer can be sensed of all of these thrills that this woman once felt by just looking at this potent picture.

Even though she became the face of this era for years nobody knew anything about this woman, which had the hope of believe that putting a face to this era everything might get better for her and family. The concern about this entire photo is what the reporter Emmett Corrigan found about her. He found her living in a mobile home and she expressed “…frustration and anger the picture that had made her face famous had never helped her or her family in any way” (341). This caused some kind of conscience to many people, because she had became an emblem to remember this era and she was not support by this famous image. Although, everything that happened to her was very lamentable, the thoughtfulness that started to grow that at the end she received her reward. When people knew that she was about to die for cancer, many Americans collected a contribution of more than $30,000 to help her in her duties. The impact that this photo caused to the people and even still does is impressive.

The photo has travelled through the world making this woman as the face of this unfortunately era, is still moving hearts through the globe to look back on what this mother represent. The valuable part of this photo is that no matter how many years pass, the face of this desperate mother always will be remember as the one who put a face of the Great Depression.

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