This particular photo demonstrates the squalor and filth that the poor endured during the Victorian era. From the gray, ominous sky to the wet, mucked cobble stone that this woman and her children stand; there is nothing but despair. Their obscured faces represent, to me, the anonymity of the poor. It equates to them being worthless and not really belonging to the human race, but rather, simply part of the hardened, decrepit landscape. When I see representations of people discarded with such ease, it makes me question how really civilized that society is despite their claims of advancement.
Even today, we Americans think ourselves so benevolent as we boast of our monetary donations to countries that burn our flag while thousands of our veterans live on the street. We claim to be so advanced, yet some folks in Appalachia live without indoor plumbing today. It’s photographs like this that stir emotion and make one question how far we’ve really come.