Legacy is what an individual leaves behind after he or she is gone. Throughout Ray Bradbury’s works, the central characters feel compelled to leave behind a meaningful legacy and this desire dictates their behaviors and impacts their relationships. In the novel, Farewell Summer, Doug Spaulding and Cal Quartermain’s diminishing youth is symbolized in the vanishing days of summer. Their mutual fears of wasted time, loss of youth, and an unfulfilled life contribute to the impact of legacy on the individual. Doug and Cal project their trepidation onto each other, thus becoming enemies, and thereby wasting the last days of summer, instead of cherishing them. In the end, Doug and Cal both have an epiphany about their fears, and end the feud between them. In order to fill the void in his life, Cal develops a relationship with Doug similar to one he might have had with descendants of his own. This final effort illustrates Bradbury’s portrayal of the universal human desire to leave behind a legacy as to ultimately feel as though we have fulfilled our lives and left some mark on the world.
In the art world, there are several ways an artist is inspired; in Andrew Wyeth’s art the significance of legacy is revealed through his work. One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Andrew Wyeth sparked the interest of the art world through his captivating artistic style and scandalous private life. Wyeth gained his reputation through his surrealistic approach to realistic scenes, and through rumors surrounding his subjects. Although he established himself through his own accomplishments, family always played an important role in his life. Andrew Wyeth’s father, N.C. Wyeth, strongly influenced his art despite their often-turbulent relationship. N.C.’s influence extended even after his death, and always remained a constant presence in his son’s life. The artistic training Andrew received from his father developed a father-son relationship that was beyond their work. When N.C. died in a tragic car accident, Andrew translated the pain of loss into a flourishing art career. Andrew’s success continued to be animated by the emotional connection to his father.
Major Works Consulted:
Bradbury, Ray. Farewell Summer. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
---. Something Wicked This Way Comes. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.
Hoving, Thomas. Two Worlds of Andrew Wyeth: A Conversation with Andrew Wyeth. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,1978.
Meryman, Richard. Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
Photo Credit: Bradbury, Ray. Now and Forever. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.