Analysis of Norman Rockwell’s Painting The Catch

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What does one need to be happy? Is it a nice car? Maybe it's a new pair of shoes? What about success? What defines success and what does one need to be successful? The truth is, it depends on one's definition. Success can be defined in different ways. Success could be defined as being financially stable, or it could be something as simple as feeling accomplished with achieved goals. Norman Rockwell’s painting “The Catch” offers refreshing ideas on what it means to be happy and what one needs to be successful.

At first glance, Rockwell’s painting illustrates a successful day of fishing for three young friends, all of whom have their catch for the day strung in one hand and their fishing gear in the other. Out of the three boys in the picture, there is a well-dressed boy in the center, and two boys standing on either side of him. The two boys standing on either side are dressed in rags, and are only using measly twigs for fishing poles. The boy who is positioned in the center of the frame is well-dressed and fitted in elegant clothing, but stands with his shoulders shrugged and with a sullen look on his face. Surprisingly, the two boys in tattered clothes appear ecstatic with bubbly expressions painted ear to ear. The details of the boys’ emotions in Rockwell’s painting raise questions about the relationship between money and happiness. Theories regarding the ties between money and happiness have been thought about for centuries. Shakespeare expressed his theory on the matter when he wrote “Poor and content is rich, and rich enough” (Shakespeare, 3.3.177). Shakespeare’s words can be translated to the idea that even if a person does not have a lot of money, if that person is content, they are rich enough by means other than mon...

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...to be happy and what it means to be successful. Being happy is not the same as being rich, and money is not a necessity for being happy or successful. Money can be facilitative in accomplishing tasks, but money cannot buy success.

Works Cited

Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. “Flow, the Secret to Happiness.” TED. February 2004. Guest lecture.

Rand, Ayn. Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. Web. 11 June 2015.

http://www.aynrand.org/

Rockwell, Norman. The Catch. 1919. Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge. Norman Rockwell Museum. Oil on canvas. November 12, 2013.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice. Ed. Tucker Brooke and Lawrence Mason. New Haven: Yale UP, 1947. Print.

Venzia, Mike. Norman Rockwell. Danbury: Grolier, 2000. Print.

Wattles, Wallace D. The Science of Getting Rich. Blacksburg: Thrifty Books, 2009. Print.

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