Originally Posted by Stargazer
No worries, I understand what you're saying. The problem I would have with the immediate analysis is that I believe the picture was taken in 1938. So, unless she was prescient when the picture was shot, Lange would not have known that the Depression was about to end (almost as many people were out of work in '38 as were in '32) largely as a result of the outbreak of WWII beginning for you folk in 1939. And in fact, the US didn't enter that war until three years (1941) after this photo was shot.
Eariler I tried to guess that perhaps Lange was referring to the changes that were occuring in the Central Valley of California (and that state generally) as thousands of migrants from the Plains states were arriving to escape the ravages of the Dust Bowl (i.e. massive drought in central US)? These migrants, nicknamed "Okies" since many came from Oklahoma, were not "welcomed" in CA - which, as was the case everywhere, struggling with the Depression.
Because most of these migrants had been farmers - they particularly gravitated to the Central Valley - which was, and remains, a major farming area. Most of these migrants were herded into "camps" and there was very serious tension between them and the "native residents" of the area.
See for example John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath - made into a movie with Henry Fonda around 1940(?) for a poignant story of this era in CA.
Anyway, this has been an overly long way of saying that if Lange's use of the word "era" is not referring strictly to this woman's life, then, given the time and place, it may be referring to what many would have considered the end of an era of a more bucolic and placid Central Valley than what they were encountering at the time.
Anyway, just my two pence.
Oh, BTW, the term Victorian Era is used on this side of the pond. Sometimes to describe a cultural era (particularly among the "affected classes" in the East who emulated the British upper class lifestyle) but also, more often, to refer to a certain style of architecture from that time (e.g. the classic "Addams Family house").
EDIT: See caption of the lead photo of this article from today's NY Times for an example of the use of the term "Victorian":
Last edited by copake_ham; 02-01-2007 at 08:19 AM. Click to view previous post history.