Both the paintings accentuate the notion of how an ideal family symbolizes peace and happiness. Instead of connecting with the outside world, the illustrations focus on turning inwards for peace and harmony. The very title ‘ Freedom from’ instead of ‘ Freedom to’ shows the defensive or a passive outlook instead of a proactive approach. It rightfully projects the mindset of the era where the abstract notion of an idealized world is used to forget the tumultuous phase of the era gone by. The newspaper’ s headline about the bombing, in the Freedom From the Fear illustration, is in sharp contrast to the warmth and the secure location of a children’ s bedroom.
The illustration shows the promise of allaying fear through the security of a home, which is an unrealistic solution. It projects a defensive attitude of running away from reality. Once again it is the desire for a model family, which is the central theme of “ Looking for Work” by the well-known Mexican American author/poet Gary Soto. The story connects with Rockwell’ s illustrations since it projects the same ideal family and gender stereotypes.
For instance, the child protagonist desires a home where there is a father to solve all problems and a mother who wears nice clothes and cooks good food. Soto’ s “ Looking for Work” is an autobiographical account of a childhood experience in his hometown in California. The author as a boy, living in poor economic conditions, indulges in watching television programmes during summer and soon enough begins to seek answers in it. The story goes on to describe the child’ s adventures as he looks for work and how he spends it on for a swimming session to beat the oppressive heat.
The story also reflects on how his impressionable mind believes that replicating the lifestyle on television will alleviate their financial troubles. The story is combined with a universal theme of the desire for a better life, social approval and child’ s endeavor to achieve it.
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