Norman Rockwell’s “The War Hero”: A New Interpretation

080515.01  the war hero
The War Hero (aka Homecoming Marine), by Norman Rockwell, 1945; this image was downloaded from the Internet, and is utilised here via the Fair Use Act.

151111 THE WAR HERO

To open the Document, simply double-click on the words “THE WAR HERO” above, and the PDF file will open for you; you may then download the file to your own computer, or read here, at your leisure.

The War Hero, by Norman Rockwell, is one of my favourite paintings; as with all Rockwell pieces, it is a backwards glance[1] into an America I do not know.  Nor could I have known it, without the timely assistance of HG Wells;[2] I was born in 1964. The War Hero was painted in 1945, and appeared in October of that year, on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post;[3] it is not part of the Willie Gillis series, which Rockwell had made popular during the war,[4] and which were designed to lift the spirits of the country.  This is a rather different work; it is a celebration, and a reminder, of all that we have endured, and overcome; the war is over.

My source material has come, primarily, from the Internet, and has been utilised here via the Fair Use Act; I have given credit for same, insofar as possible. It should be noted, however, for the purposes of this document, that my analyses and my interpretations are entirely my own; they are not the work of others, nor were they provided to me by others.

My interpretations have not been submitted to either a professional historian, art critic, or indeed to anyone connected to Norman Rockwell, the Saturday Evening Post; in all honesty, I shouldn’t know where to start.

I have stated that the analyses and interpretations presented herein are entirely the results of my own work, and my own efforts, and so, I must also state that any mistakes, glaring or otherwise, are also my own. I’m hardly perfect, although I certainly try my best; the reader’s gracious indulgence is humbly requested.

Finally, to answer the question which my friends, colleagues and acquaintances have asked, since I first began to buttonhole them with my enthusiasm, and bore them with my efforts, in the immortal words of Sir Edmund Hillary (who, in fact, once held me as a baby): “Because…it was there.” [5]

Respectfully submitted,

Sanjay R Singhal, RA

11 November, 2015

 

[1] Wharton, Edith. A Backward Glance. New York, D Appleton & Company, 1934. One of my favourite books, by one of my favourite authors.

[2] Wells, HG. The Time Machine. London, William Heinemann, 1895.

[3] Diana Denny. Rockwell: The War Years. The Saturday Evening Post. http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2012/05/24/art-entertainment/rockwell-the-war-years-2.html. 24 May 2012. Web. Accessed 20 October 2015.

[4] Ibid. Classic Covers: The All-American Soldier Willie Gillis. The Saturday Evening Post. http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2011/05/28/art-entertainment/allamerican-soldier-willie-gillis.html. 28 May 2011. Web. Accessed 20 October 2015.

[5] Often attributed to Hillary, but first uttered by George Mallory. Sean Sullivan. Because It’s There: The Quotable George Mallory. The Clymb. http://www.theclymb.com/stories/passions/explore/because-its-there-the-quotable-george-mallory/. 2013. Web. Accessed 24 October 2015.

To open the Document, simply double-click on the words “THE WAR HERO” above, and the PDF file will open for you; you may then download the file to your own computer, or read here, at your leisure.

Sanjay R Singhal, RA

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Copyright © 2015 Sanjay R Singhal, RA.  All rights reserved.

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