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Family College - Essay Example

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A family can be defined in many ways; a child's first contact with the outside world that gives it a sense of identity. An intricate web of relationships that helps an individual value it before he/she steps out into the society to form new ones. Family can be viewed as a tree with long winding branches, or a patchwork quilt that denotes diverse personalities within the same perimeter…
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Family College Essay
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Download file to see previous pages This nuclear family often portrayed as the typical American family. However it has often been glorified and idealised for various purposes. This essay will discuss how a glorified vision of an ideal family has been exploited time and again to revive faith, boost morale and function as a window to a better quality of life.
With many families getting scattered and functioning as separate units, children grow up unaware of members of their extended family. Such a scenario gives rise to the need for a family history, which not only acts as a future reference but also has sentimental value attached to it.
Names and photographs, if possible, arranged in the shape of a tree with branches, signify nature of relationship i.e. genetic or through marriage. Family histories more often recorded in family bibles, help trace relations that may have drifted off and revive them for sentimental and occasionally practical reasons. For instance, in case of proving an inheritance, these family trees are useful in establishing and tracking down relations that may have been lost in the sands of time. At one level, family though may mean a group of individuals bound together by the genetic makeup, at another level, it also stands for national identity.
The family tree, an illustration by Norman Rockwell, symbolises the concept of an American family at a national level. His illustration for the 1959 October edition of Saturday Evening Post cover shows a family tree filled with an array of faces, illustrating the eventful phases of history. The family tree comprising Yankees, Yeomen, Buccaneers, Confederates, Spanish beauties, Puritans and Aristocrats showcases America as a melting pot of cultures. Instead of depicting pilgrims at Plymouth rock as the beginning of American history, Rockwell preferred to illustrate pirates looting European ships carrying treasures, shown by ships from both ends and the coming together of pirates and European aristocrats through marriage (at the base of the family tree). Rockwell chose to depict Civil War through union and confederate soldiers portraying how diverse elements went into the forming of a new entity instead of using slaves to do so. The presence of mountain man and a tribal woman goes to show how various cultures and tribes were amalgamated into the history eventually giving rise to a broad and a tolerant outlook encasing the 'spirit of America'. However, it is debatable to judge the illustration as a representation of American entity since it is marked by the absence of Mexican and Asian faces.
Rockwell also finds a place for himself as a preacher, in his glorified version of American history. He takes the liberty of projecting himself as a teacher entrusted with the responsibility of shedding light on the right path. Through his illustrations, Rockwell worked on the people's mindset by painting an idealised way of life by highlighting the country's rich past, glorifying old age values in order to revive people's faith in their country. His version of American history rightfully depicts the importance of family during the 1950s. This was mainly because this was an age when people were trying to forget the War and start a new life. This was the baby boom era as portrayed in Rockwell's family tree illustration with the picture of a baby boy at the top, where women were encouraged to marry and bear babies. The attempt was to boost the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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