The Wishbone by Norman Rockwell
November 19, 1921 Issue of The Country Gentleman
The Wishbone, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published November 19, 1921.
The alternate title for this painting is Thanksgiving.
The Country Gentleman was published by Curtis Publishing Company. The masthead billed it as "The Oldest Agricultural Journal in the World." Curtis Publishing also published The Saturday Evening Post.
This illustration was the thirty-second Country Gentleman cover by Norman Rockwell. Rockwell painted thirty-five covers for The Country Gentleman starting in August 1917, the first Cousin Reginald cover, and continuing through April 1922.
The Wishbone or Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving 1921 edition of The Country Gentleman brings us the tradition of the wishbone with the Rockwell treatment.
One person pulls on each side of the Y-shaped bone. The one who has the longest piece in his/her hand when it breaks wins. And the prize is a wish granted. A big question mark for this tradition is who actually grants the wish.
This painting was only one of 34 Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman covers; here is the list of more Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman scans.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
The best part concerning the wishbone tradition is, of course, obtaining a wishbone. One has to consume a turkey, chicken or other fowl to get one. So there is always some kind of feast preceding this contest.
The boy in the picture is all dressed up for Thanksgiving dinner. He looks very intently on the contest. He still wears his napkin tucked into his collar.
Is he truly so intent on having his wish granted? Maybe he has notice a weak spot on the bone and is going to exploit it to get the larger piece. Or has he just spotted more meat left over on the bone?
Opposite him, and also opposing him, is the girl in her pink dress. She looks dreamily toward us and over our heads. She may be planning what she wants to do with her wish. Maybe she is planning to use her feminine wiles to get the larger piece.
Maybe she too is wondering how this whole wish business works.
Norman Rockwell's use of children and current events cemented his position as America's favorite illustrator .
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