Great Expectations by Lynn Weatherford

The mother cradles her pregnant stomach awaiting her child's birth. When a mother is pregnant, one is only to wait and excite over her child's life that is to come. As nine months swiftly passes by, mothers and fathers have certain expectations of how they will be parents and how their child will be raised. By the time the child comes, these expectations are sometimes realistic but other times drastically change. Some women even start to doubt themselves  as a mother and their ability to care and help their child grow making the right decisions. Each parent differs in their expectations, some hold the same expectations that were put on them by their parents yet some look back and know they will do everything opposite than how their own parents raised them. The worst expectations that can run through mother's minds are the probability that their child will be born with a disease or even worse have a miscarriage. The key to a happy pregnancy is to only expect the best but be prepared for the worst. The way the mother cradles his stomach in this painting with care and passion can make you feel the love that this child will be greeted by upon entering the world. 

Girl at the Mirror by Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell shows a young girl staring at herself in the mirror wondering why she isn't as perfect as the woman she looks at in the magazine on her lap. Norman Rockwell shows the feeling youth is facing with today of not feeling good enough or beautiful because they compare themselves to the standards the models hold. As editing software has improved over the years, the images of women has perfected, leaving young girls to feel the need to change their body images to be as pretty as the women they see. Many people try to stress the importance of realizing these standards aren't even real because what you see in edited pictures is not how the person actually looks like in person. Eating disorders, mass amounts of makeup (lipstick by her left foot), plastic surgery, and hair treatments are all ways women and even some men change their looks in hope of being "perfect." Rockwell even shows how young girls today try to mature faster than before by placing a fallen doll next to the mirror. Rockwell tries to show how young children try to grow up too fast, missing out on valuable learning and educational experiences. Many musical artists have seen this change in children and have made many songs referencing to the fact that we are all born beautiful and we should never change the way we look for anyone. Programs including the Dove Beauty Project has reached out to young girls to talk and help them realize that everyone is beautiful and unique and although we don't look like the girl in the magazine, we are just as beautiful. People are born different for a reason and changing our looks and getting surgery to look "prettier" or look like one of our idols would be a lie to ourselves. You can compare it to snowflakes, every single snowflake is different from the next but just as beautiful as the one before it. 

Great Expectations by Jeanne Rosier Smith

The mother holds her child up for the world to see, proud of her child and what she created. She holds high expectations of her child and she knows her baby will exceed them. The hope and curiosity in his eyes makes you want to think this baby is going to be an amazing person that will make history some day. This painting reminded me of a scene in the Lion King where Rafiki holds up the baby lion, Simba, for the rest of the jungle to see because they know one day this lion is going to rule the jungle just like his father King Mustafa. You were able to see his intelligence at such a young age and his thirst for knowledge. Parents are amazed as their infants grow and learn and exceed all of their expectations.

 Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

As the young girl sits and ponders in the field outside her countryside home, her parents unknowingly go along with their regular day to day lives. The young girl, named Christina nearing the age of eighteen, doesn't know how to tell her parents that she doesn't want to live the wealthy life they expect her to live. She sees more to life than acquiring mass amounts of money and owning a nice home. The feeling of helping others and being able to make a difference is more of a concern in her life but she knows her parents will not understand this. Her parents hold high expectations of all of their children because as they see it, it is in their children's best interest. They want their children to live "perfect" lives as they see theirs to be but their daughter differs. Christina sees the life her parents living to be a lie and doesn't want to live like that any longer. She stares off at her home picturing the words coming out of her parent's mouths and the looks of disappointment. She loves her parents and appreciates all they have done for her, but the permanent standards they have set for her blind them from the truth of the things their daughter truly wants. She feels her parents should have held lower expectations after she had grown up leaving her to decide her own future. High expectations of loved ones can blind you from their true nature leaving everyone in a bad situation. Christina debates weather she should march into her home and tell her parents what she is truly feeling or just run as far as she can and start a new life on her own. If she runs, she can never come back to her home or town because her parents will have people searching for her thinking she has been abducted. She knows the probability of her surviving on her own with not much money is slim, but she's willing to take that chance. The high class life just wasn't for her so she takes one last look at her home and starts off for her new life, never turning back. 

The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo painted this self portrait while waiting for the papers of second divorce to finalize. This was her most famous painting but it meant a lot more to her. In this painting she shows two "versions" of herself, one dressed in a white victorian German dress and one in a classic Mexican dress. Both dresses show her different nationalities, her father being German and her mother being Mexican. After reading the basic background information i imediatly imagined her trying to express the pain she was suffering trying to be a perfect woman but having stress from both parents having different expectations. Her mother, being brought up in the Mexican culture, thought her daughter too should keep their Mexican tradition passing it on to her children as well. Feeling the same pressure from her father of his German heritage brought her to feel she had to create an alter ego. She created two perfect young ladies that pleased both her mother and father. Both women are connected by their intertwined arteries with their hearts visible over their dresses. Their monotone faces show their dissatisfaction with their lives because she has lived her entire life just to please and exceed the expectations of her parents. She has become fed up with trying to fight her parents that she gives up and lets her parents live her life for her or "them". 

Unexpected Visitors by Ilya Efimovich Repin

As the Russian Revolution broke out during in 1905, men were recruited into the war, unable to contact their family except through occasional letters. When the soldiers were allowed to return home, most families didn't know if their loved ones were even still alive. In this painting, the woman was having a normal day, unable to control if her father was to ever come home again. When days had passed, the girl's hope and faith was slowly fading until that early morning when the door burst open and only hugs and cheers were to be heard. The girl burst out of her chair with excitement, never expecting this to actually come true but to remember this exact scene from her dreams. When she started to expect the worst, her luck turned around and the unexpected occured. We should always stay positive in hard situations because negative thoughts only make the situation worse.

Dance Class by Edgar Degas

This painting is a classic ballet setting, with all the girls getting ready by stretching but the small detail that caught my eye was what looks like a weeping woman in the back right corner. The women is a mother of one of the many girls attending this ballet class which is the best of the best. Arriving at the class early to pick up her daughter and explain her anger to the teacher, she bursts into tears and cries on one of the other woman there. Before arriving  she had received a letter that explaining that her daughter didn’t make it into one of the best schools in the country for ballet that this class promised would accept her. As many children feel that their parents put stress and pressure on them even as children, those negative feelings stay with us and we feel we have to live up to these perfect expectations. I think a child’s word is just as important as the parent’s because even though on countless occasions children cannot make many decisions with the lack of knowledge on many subjects but they do know what they want and don’t want. I really do not think that a child at such a young age would be so devastated that she did not make it into one of the top schools because at that age- life should still be about exploring and finding out new aspects of the world we are living in. The young girl took this class because she loved ballet, she finds happiness in practicing, and she loves being around her friends in the class. A child has to explore and find what makes them happy when they are young because as we age and grow up, our life is centered around our future and we lose our ambition and ability to have fun and relax. No child should be held back by their parents' expectations, but rebelling is not the answer either; communication is always the key to the problem. 


Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange

This photograph was taken during the Great Depression where families were torn away from their home and land and forced to move west in hope of starting a new life. The pain in this woman's face can tell an entire story. Her children lay on her shoulders, most likely starving for food and unable to help her children she feels hopeless unable to expect if her family will survive. No mother ever wants to know that their family is slowly dying and theres nothing you can do about it. All this mother can do is expect the unexpected and that if they do move out west, they will find a home, food, and education for her children. This photograph could have also been taken after she moved out west and has seen that after all of her high expectations of the west where she was going to start her new life- they were unwanted and left with nothing. Forced to live on the streets, going days without food, slowly running out of ideas and out of patience. 

The Worst Is Yet to Come

As our economy worsens and worsens, we are left with nothing to expect but the worse. We had been told by many politicians that this recession would not last long, but four years already passed and our economy only gets worse. This photograph portrays the feeling across America right now telling people the simple fact that if you think what we are in now, just wait for what is to come which could possibly be a depression. 

Comics and Cartoons

In this cartoon, a girl is bursting home from school with a graded paper in hand. Having taken this test last week, she knew she didn't do well so she expected the worst and had the idea that she had failed. When she received her grade back and it was better than what she expected, she was ecstatic and ran home to her grampa. This cartoon shows the importance of low expectations so every outcome is better than what you thought leaving you happy and satisfied.