Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother

719 Words3 Pages
In the 1930s, harsh weather conditions in the United States turned fields into dust and caused many Americans to suffer through extreme hardship and poverty. Many migrant families were destitute as they struggled just to survive. Dorothea Lange captured the plight of one of these families in her photograph Migrant Mother. The photograph depicts a family suffering from extreme poverty, but it also demonstrates the determination of a mother to do her best to care for her children and to endure through difficult times. The mother and her children are severely impoverished. The title of the photograph identifies the mother as a migrant worker, and the photograph was taken in 1936, at the time when many migrant farm workers suffered through…show more content…
Even the composition of the figures in the photograph suggests the mother’s importance. The mother is at the center of the photograph, just as she is at the center of her family. Two of the children are resting against their mother, leaning in toward each of her shoulders, so that the mother literally is supporting the weight of her children. Both of the older children have their heads resting on the mother’s shoulders, turning to the mother for comfort and support. The mother’s care for her children can also be seen in the recent “bowl” haircuts suggested by the shape of the older children’s hair. The mother also cares for her baby, who rests peacefully in the mother’s lap as she holds it close against her body. The mother’s ruffled and slightly opened shirt front suggests that she may have recently breastfed her baby, and the child now rests peacefully in the comfort of its mother’s arms. The mother is poor, and the whole family is suffering, but the mother does try to provide some support and comfort for her children. The responsibility of caring for her family helps the mother remain strong and determined not to be defeated during these difficult times. Her head is not bowed down in defeat. Instead, she looks ahead, as if looking for a way out of her situation. Even the presence of a photographer taking a picture of the mother does not distract her attention. She has more important things to think about. The mother’s hand cupped against her cheek also suggests that she is deep in

More about Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother

Open Document