Rhetorical Analysis Of Norman Rockwell 's Breakfast Table Political Argument

1342 WordsFeb 18, 20176 Pages
Norman Rockwell was a 20th century American painter and much of his work is a reflection of the American culture. ‘Breakfast Table Political Argument’ was painted in 1948 during the presidential elections in the United States. It is a narrative art, whereby it uses visual image to convey some truths. Its purpose is to show us reality by way of detail, by setting of scene and by representation of two 'characters ' in a certain situation. Rockwell was known for painting idyllic scenes of ordinary American life depicting a happily ever after scenario. However, ‘Breakfast Table Political Argument’ among others that Rockwell painted depict scenes of marital discord that contradict the popular media representation of heterosexual…show more content…
He is extremely angry which can be seen from the way he leans forward threateningly. His wife shows more restraint and sits back, straight backed against her chair and stares at her husband sulkily. The wife’s stoic demeanour and with her arms defiantly crossed at the chest suggest an empowerment which the man is uncomfortable with. Here we see two contrasting halves to the painting. On the left we see anger, discord and noise in the man and the child at his feet. On the opposite side we see calmness with the quiet dog and control with the restrained woman. There is a juvenile tendency to her response. One can question whether her stance is a representation of the early response of women who had recently been given the right to vote. The women have won, but as of yet they are not confident to retaliate to men’s verbal violence against their achievement. Could this be the 'indifference ' Virginia Woolf refers to in her essay about women and nationalism? Are we to conclude that the man is compelled to fight? He is after all displaying his sex characteristic which she does not share and because he does not share her maternal instinct he is oblivious to the crying of the child at his feet and continues to shout at his wife. Further analysis of Rockwell 's painting from a feminist perspective in light of what Simone De Beauvoir’ calls the 'Other ' the husband, as the man, occupies the role of the self, the woman is on the opposite,
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