The problem of understanding between parents and children has always been difficult. Their mental worlds are different (“Child Psychology & Mental Health,” n.p.). Therefore, many misunderstanding issues can occur. The picture under consideration shows different values and opinions of parents and children. In this paper, this picture will be analyzed.
The visual under consideration looks like a caricature. It was created in the year 2005. Therefore, the picture is not new – it is about 15 years old. However, I think that situation it shows did not change in our days. The picture represents a father and a son. The son is carrying something like a book, and it is clear that the father is taking his son to school. The father persuades the son to go to school by stating that his way to school was much harder – six miles through the snow. The son states that it was hard because his father’s parents did not have money for gas to take him to school by car. The picture is not just a picture; it has a deep sense based on social differences between parents and children. The picture is shaped by cultural values of different generations. The author of the picture tries to persuade the audience to understand differences between two generations and their values and overcome them for better understanding between parents and children. He also tries to show parents that it is important to persuade children to study. It is commonly known that parents play an important role in persuading their children to study. In this picture, the father tries to become a good example of learning (“The Role of Parents” n.p.). He tries to show his son that he wanted to study. Maybe, the father had a chance to miss school, but he did not do it and went there through deep snow. Therefore, he tries to show his son that a willing to study should overcome any challenges. The son seems to understand him, but he does not understand the difficulty of such an obstacle. He thinks that the father had to go through the snow because his parents did not have money for gas. The son does not know the reality of past times when not all people had cars or public transport. Therefore, the author of the picture focuses on the differences of life understanding between two generations.
The author uses ethos, logos, and pathos. In my opinion, ethos and pathos are the most powerful in the picture. Therefore, I will analyze them. Ethos means appeal to ethics that persuades the audience to use ethical norms and examples to analyze the situation (“Examples of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos,” n.p.). In this picture, the author appeals to ethics because he shows the importance of studies. It is ethical to be educated. Therefore, the father persuades his son to go to school. He does not tell that going to school and studying is ethical. He just shows the personal example and hopes the son follows him because following the advices and examples of parents is commonly considered ethical. The father also appeals to ethics because he hopes that his son will behave ethically and follow his example. Even if the son does not want to study much, the father seems to feel that his ethical example will stimulate his son to study because it is ethical to follow the example of parents.
The son has ethical appeals, too. However, they are completely different. After reading the father’s words, we hope that the son will be admired with his father’s obstinacy and desire to study because it is very hard for a child to walk six miles through snow to get to school. However, his answer surprises. It is the element of caricature – to show something that the viewers did not expect and make them think of it. The son thinks that the father had to go to school through snow because his parents could not afford gas for their car to get him to school. Therefore, the ethical appeals of the son are different. Unlike his father, he does not focus on the desire to study as the most ethical thing that leads him to get to school regardless of difficult obstacles. It seems that the son perceives going to school as a routine. He is not likely to follow his father and get to school through snow only because he wants to study. For him, the most important ethical rule is that the parents should provide the best to their children. He thinks that if they have money, they should spend it on him; in this case, they should spend it on gas to fill the car and drive their son to school. Therefore, the first ethical conflict of the picture is that parents consider the desire to study the most ethical while for children, the most ethical thing is the readiness of the parents to spend all spare money on their children. One more ethical conflict is the conflict between material and spiritual. For the father, spiritual (the desire for knowledge) is the most important. For the son, material is the core because he considers the school something that requires much money.
In the picture, the author uses pathos, too. He appeals to the viewers’ emotions through the father’s words. When we read his words, we admire the obstinacy of a little boy and his desire to study. We feel these emotions and hope that the son will be admired, too. However, the answer of the son seems shocking. His answer is not the one we expected. He considers the school a routine that requires money. He does not seem to have a desire to study. Therefore, the emotional appeal of the picture is based on the contrast between the feelings of the father and his son. First, we are admired with the father, but then we are disappointed with his son’s unexpected answer.
The author uses different visual elements to focus our attention on the picture and increase its ethical and emotional appeals. The picture is black-and-white and simple. Therefore, the viewers look at it quickly, study it, and then read the dialogue. Some elements help to make appeals more powerful. The father is very tall, and his son is short. It may mean the contrast between two generations. The father is wearing glasses, and it may show that he is educated and well-read. In contrast, the son has a naïve face. He seems to be a careless child who wants to relax and does not have a large desire for studying.
In conclusion, the picture under consideration is a caricature that focuses on the difference between the values and opinions of two generations. The elder generation respects education and spiritual values, while the younger one considers material values and relaxing the most important. To show it, the author used different rhetorical appeals and visual elements. Ethos appeals to the ethical conflicts, and pathos makes the viewers admired with the father and disappointed with the son. Visual elements help to stress on the contrast between two generations. In my opinion, the author used appeals and visual elements professionally, and they influence those who look at the picture.