Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting depicts a scene he extracted from his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa during the Great Depression (Martinique). It displayed resilience in the face of adversity when the once-booming United States spiraled into economic collapse.
Wood’s wanted to create an American piece of art separate from European works, which dominated the art market in the 1920s and 1930s (Martinique). If you want to learn more about American Gothic, the link to the Martinique’s article is below.
Tanneries during the Great Depression paid people for a bucket of urine that they used to tan hides with. Seems easy enough. Yet, there were people who couldn’t afford a bucket.
Not a bucket to piss in.
Then this painting comes along depicting gaunt Americans facing the Depression with defiant eyes.
Humans evolved through great adversity and are better for it. Without adversity, we’d be silly putty.
As if the economic collapse of 1929 wasn’t bad enough, a year later the Dust Bowl started and lasted for 6 brutal years.
It’s understanding that many would lose hope.
Not a bucket to piss in and now you have sand in your eyes.
It’ll buff out.
A feeling of hopelessness surfed in our brain waves off and on in Ramadi, Iraq circa 2006. The city had a way of sucking the water right out of your glass-half-full mentality.
Days when we were told to stand down when we could have helped.
Days when we lost another marine and there was nothing we could do about it.
Days where we learned we were being extended in country.
Days where we helplessly watched a convoy hit an IED.
Days where nothing went right.
Who has ever had a day like that?
Hopelessness is a cleverly disguised trap tricking us into thinking that there’s no way out.
The best thing we can do in difficult situations is endure.
There’s always a way out.
There’s always hope.
Find a bucket to piss in.
Sidebar: Did you know? The woman depicted in American Gothic is not the farmer’s wife, it’s the farmer’s daughter.
Intel extracted from: Martinique, Elena. 2023. “American Gothic – The Story Behind Grant Wood’s Iconic Painting.” https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/grant-wood-american-gothic-whitney
Jared Prewitt is a husband, father, marine, author, carpenter/teacher/coach, and lover of great stories.
Jared was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He participated in the Battle of Ramadi (Iraq) as a Designated Marksman from 2006-2007 and as a Squad Leader in the Battle of Garmsir (Afghanistan) in 2008.
After being honorably discharged in 2009 having served five years, Jared moved to Colorado and married in 2011. He has a Bachelor’s in Business and a Masters in Writing. You can find him bowling, golfing, camping, hunting, or fishing when he’s not around his family.
Check out his other work on Instagram @cold_steel_collective or at www.jareprewittwritesstuff.com.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.