Comparing the Works of Norman Rockwell and Gary Soto

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Family happiness is something that many today focus on as an absolute requirement for happy and healthy growth in children. And indeed, it is right that this should be so. In reality, however, challenges such as poverty and racism often affect the happiness that families might experience. When comparing the works created by Norman Rockwell and Gary Soto, however, it becomes clear that family happiness is not so much dependent upon wealth as it is upon freedom of expression and freedom from fear. At first glance, the family in Rockwell's painting appears quite happy, with the father and mother both smiling at the sleepy children. The children also seem peaceful and warm in their bed, and the room appears secure and solid against any elements that might attack from outside. This is, however, where the sense of overprotection begins to reveal itself. The overprotected nature of the children's life is revealed in several visual elements in the painting. First, and most obvious, the mother leans over the children as she puts them to bed. The father also stands close, looking down at them, with a fond smile on his face. While it is clear that they love their children, the parents' physical orientation towards their children can be said to hover. Another interesting element in this regard is that the father accompanies the process of putting the children to bed. He stands next to his wife as she works with the children. He does not help, but gives the impression that his

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