Ceremonies of Women Mourning for Their Deceased Husbands by Theodor de Bry Essay

Submitted By mellowyeIIow
Words: 808
Pages: 4

Document Analysis Ceremonies of Women Mourning for their Deceased Husbands

In 1591 Theodor de Bry created an engraving he called “Ceremonies of Women Mourning for their Deceased Husbands” in Northern Florida. Through the drawing, you get a sense that their settlement contained hard working women. Though this illustration seems easily explainable, you may second guess yourself after reading the title. The message the author attempts to send to the audience is vaguely portrayed through his engraving. There are two ways of interpreting “Ceremonies of Women Mourning for their Deceased Husbands;” in the end the two ideas are almost opposites.

Though I am unable to read the language that the writing is in, it appears to be very sophisticated looking. The document/drawing is printed on sepia paper. The font of the words below the engraving are formally depicted. My first guess was that this illustration was originally found in a newspaper or book. At the bottom right hand corner of the page, there is a symbol that could be a page number. Theodor was an engraver, editor and goldsmith who traveled around Europe. He created a number of engravings for his books that were mostly based on observations from explorers and Theodor himself. This tells me that the engraving was most likely used in one of his books, hence the symbol at the bottom of page that could be identified as a page number.

When I look at this document, the message that the author is trying to get across is that women in this society are different. They don’t work in the house, but they work in the fields, planting seeds. The two large shells in the engraving might act as seed holders. I am not entirely sure what the wood sitting next to the shells are. It could possibly something that had fallen there; the author leaves no reasoning for those objects. The womens stocky bodies imply that they are healthy and their work has paid off by supplying them with a satisfactory amount of food. The lack of clothing on the women could mean that men think they are not worthy of clothes, if that is the case then the first idea is irrelevant. The reason could also be that they choose not to wear clothes because of the Florida heat. These women have a large build, resembling a man. All though the women in this photo are portrayed differently than the common woman, normally clothed and smaller, all the women included resemble one another. When I look at this photograph I see the same woman, just duplicated at multiple angles. In that case, from this point of view, all woman are the same. Through this information, the message I believe the author is portraying is that woman in this settlement are stronger and more useful. They are equal to men almost, letting the female party be free of being locked in the kitchen. Since Theodor chose to draw this particular scene, it tells me that he agrees with the beliefs of that settlement. If he did not agree, I believe that the illustration would be portrayed negatively. However, I do not believe that this is the true meaning. This idea seemed obvious at first but I sense that there could be a different meaning behind the…