Tobacco Road + Physical Journey

Essay by maryyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, June 2008

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A physical journey incorporates expeditions from one place to another, where a variety of obstacles may possibly be faced. By overcoming these obstacles and challenges, physical journey can provide opportunities for travelers to extend themselves physically, intellectually and emotionally.

The idea of a physical journey is explored in the painting “Tobacco Road, Ovens Valley” illustrated by Jeff Carter. The image “Tobacco Road” focuses primarily on the physical movement from one destination to another, where a determined family of two plump women and a small boy are thrusting a car through a muddy landscape to arrive at their valued destination. The personas perceive the journey as an opportunity to fulfill their aspirations and hence have a strong desire to undertake this particular physical journey.

Jeff Carter indicates that a physical journey is much more than the destination itself. It is the amalgamation of the physical movement and the obstacles and challenges that the travelers may encounter.

These challenges and obstacles can often cause pain and affliction, however by overcoming these struggles, it can ultimately lead the family and provide them with the opportunity to gain civilization and fulfill their aspirations. The composer has conveyed the concept of physical journeys using a variety of techniques such as symbolism, vectors, body language and contrast in colour and light.

Visual symbolism was used extensively throughout the photograph to portray the physical movement of the journey. The open road and the car are both a symbol that implies a movement from one place to another. The open road implies an extensive expedition where constraints and limitations will be faced and will be needed to overcome. In addition, the muddy landscape is portrayed as an obstacle, it places strains on the family, as they are not travelling on a flat lenient surface, but instead an oppressive and sticky ground, it thus creates techniques of struggles and adversity throughout the family’s voyage. It emphasizes the challenges that this particular family is to endure when pushing the car on their journey in order to arrive at their valued destination.

Body Language plays a significant role in conveying the idea of physical journey. Through careful evaluation, it appears that the two plump women are struggling to push the car, however they refuse to surrender and thus continues to penetrate their expedition promptly. Body language allows the audience to comprehend that the family are eager to escape the harsh reality of life and although they may encounter a course of obstacles along the way, they remain indomitable and hence this accumulates the family’s strong and optimistic outlook towards the concept of physical journey.

The adversity of the family’s journey on the open road to their valued destination is further explored with the vectors of the fence. The use of vectors instantly draws the audience forward to the mountains and also augments a sense of limitless possibilities. This reinforces the idea that the family are far from civilization and thus highlights the boundless possibilities of obstacles that may protract the family’s revered destination.

The composer also employs the use of contrast in colour and light, the diversity of colours between the dark mountains and the light in the far distance of the painting suggests the ease and delights that are to come once the course of challenges and obstacles have been overcome. It hence demonstrates the idea to the audience that taking on a journey and adapting to changes may be difficult, however the incentive return and opportunities towards the end of the physical journey is intriguing and worthwhile.

The painting “Tobacco Road” further reflects and conveys to the responder that with the use of visual techniques such as Visual symbolism, body language, vectors and contrast in colour and light, it has allowed the audience to comprehend that a physical journey is much more than the destination, it is the amalgamation of the movement itself and the obstacles and challenges it brings about and hence by overcoming these struggles, it provides the personas to extend themselves physically, intellectually and emotionally.