New Mexico Highways
Earlier, discussing Lange's photograph, Dyer explicitly, quite plausibly invokes Steinbeck's Tom Joad. That imagery, to my mind, heightens the contrast with the uncertainty and indeterminacy he reads in Frank's photograph. As Bruce Springsteen sings in the chorus to 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' - "The highway is alive tonight . . ." and then, by turns, ". . . But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes" or ". . . But where it's headed everybody knows." For the migrants, the internally displaced, there is no adventure, no thrill of anticipation. Everybody knows. And such a world invites the cynicism Leonard Cohen voices as often as it does the courage and commitment Springsteen invokes. It seems so, at least, for those more preoccupied with self-fashioning than with political realities and possibilities. So, in a sense, Lange and Frank seem to foreshadow the choice we face today.
* U.S. 54 in southern New Mexico.