The Life Changing Kiss English Literature Essay

            On August 14, 1945, a famous photo was taken on the streets of Time Square, New York. It is also known as the V-J Day because it was the day when the United Sates gained victory over Japan. This world famous photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The picture is also known as "The Kiss" because in this picture George Mendonsa is kissing Greta Zimmer. Zimmer didn’t expect that she would be kissed by a strange sailor. Even though, George had a date with another woman he could not wait to express his feelings, therefore, when he saw Greta he forcefully kissed her in the middle of Time Square. Eisenstaedt was taking pictures of everyone enjoying and celebrating the end of the war. Then he saw someone running toward the middle of Time Square, where the couple was kissing. The audience is everyone and especially patriotic Americans. Even though, George committed a crime by sexually assaulting Greta, the image have changed everyone lives by showing the relief and happiness of American people.

            George Mendonsa was a sailor of Navy and Greta Zimmer was a dental assistant. She was in Time Square looking for answers to the one question everybody was asking, she was looking around to see if World War II had actually ended. After hearing that the war had ended, she was overwhelmed with happiness. Soon she became the center of attention for the crowd in Time Square; Mendonsa halted his steps before he could reach Zimmer, which he mistook her for a nurse. He then decided to grab her by having his upper torso’s momentum sweeping over her. The motion forced her to bend backwards to her right and he cupped his right arm around her waist holding her tight. Then, he pulled her inwards and attempted to physically separate intruder from person. Zimmer, being unable to move from this position, she pinned the two bodies by using her right hand and clenching a fist on her left hand. Yet, she was defenseless. As they kissed, the crowd thought that the moment was his but it wasn’t. Truly, this moment really belonged to Alfred Eisenstaedt because he was the one who had captured this moment for Life Magazine.

This picture has photographic conventions like camera angle, black and white picture, framing, context, composition, and especially the ‘moment’. When the picture was taken, the camera was in an upright position facing towards the kissing couple. This picture was presented in black and white, remarking the end of World War II. When observing this picture, not only do you see the couple kissing but you also see other people in the background smiling and encouraging them. In Time Square, Eisenstaedt was looking for the perfect picture; a picture that will be on the front cover of Life Magazine. While he was taking pictures of people celebrating, he felt that these pictures were not defining what he was looking for, yet he knew that he would get the picture. Later, he notices a couple kissing, he took this picture and he framed it. The picture became the front cover of the Life Magazine. The context of this picture remarks the end of World War II and resulting in the V-J Day photograph, also known as "The Kiss." This led to the moment where the sailor kissed the dental assistant, who was mistaken for a nurse; it was the perfect moment because it shows how excited the people are by gaining victory over the Japan. These photographic conventions were very obvious in the painting.

This picture also contains body language, facial expression, architecture, clothes, and background. The body language of this picture can be split into two perspectives: Madonna’s and Zimmer’s. Mandonsa’s body language was trapping her in his arms and locking his lips with hers, but Zimmer was trying her best thrusting him away but her hands were clenched into his arms. His facial expression shows that he wanted to kiss her desperately because he was so excited and she was in shock that she was kissed by a complete stranger. Yet, the people in the background were encouraging them and seemed to be happy for them in the middle of Time Square. Also, we can identify the building (architecture) in the background, on the right of the picture you can notice the "BOND" sign. He thought he was kissing a nurse because she was wearing a similar dress code for her dental assistant occupation, a white dress with white stockings and white shoes. He, himself, looked handsome with a formal blue Navy uniform without the rates on his shoulder.

In this specific picture there are more photographic conventions than social conventions. The photographic conventions explain more about the picture. It gives you a story about the picture, whereas the social convention gives you the basic information about the picture. By the social conventions a person who sees this picture for the first time cannot tell that the Greta Zimmer was forced to kiss George Mendonsa. The photographic conventions tell the viewer of the true story behind it. It tells you what the photographer was looking for, how this was related to the time period and it gives explicit information of the picture.

            This image has changed peoples’ lives by showing the relief and happiness of Americans. The relief from this horrible war lifestyle because this war killed thousands of innocent people who we care about. Now it’s all over because after we won the war, the people are celebrating and showing emotions that cannot be express through simple words. All the pain that they had to carry around with them, it’s all over. Now they can finally live their lives happily without being tensed about the terrible war. However, what George did was a sexual assault and according to the law, you cannot kiss someone without their permission. Greta could have pressed charges on him but she did not take any action because she was patriotic herself and eager to know the end results of the war. Therefore, they both were extremely happy and the kiss remarks that how excited they were for gaining the victory. Even though, they were strangers they did not care because all they really cared about was the time that revolved around the victory; there is no other possible way to express this feeling besides kissing. As Bernard Meltzer said, "Happiness is like a kiss, you must share it to enjoy it."

            The V-J Day picture is a symbol indicating the end of the war on August 14, 1945. On the streets of Time Square, New York this picture became famous because it has an odd but interesting story behind it. The photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, took this picture because it shows the patriotism of George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer. They were the two strangers kissing, not because they loved each other but because they were showing the patriotism. This is why this picture is also called "The Kiss." George Mendonsa, a Navy sailor, kissed Greta Zimmer, a dental assistant, who was mistaken for a nurse because of her dress. What George Mendonsa did was a crime of sexually assaulting Greta Zimmer by forcefully kissing her contingently; however, he was too excited to wait to express his feelings, so he kissed her without thinking about it once. This is also life changing because the picture itself changed the couple life, it made them famous. In addition, it also changed other people’s lives by inspiring them.