Learn English – the love story of the woman in the painting American Gothic

We all love stories! And in acquiring a language, when we are caught up in a story-line, our brains can go about their business absorbing and organizing the language it hears.

This video is the companion to the one on 9 June 2019 where I describe an American classic painting called ‘American Gothic’. In that video I spend most of the time on the physical description of a farmer and his adult daughter but then suggest what they MIGHT be thinking. These are stand alone videos or they can be used together.


Art – 1b – American Gothic Back Story – 18 June 2019

Hey there. This is Maria from English without Fear. Today I’m going to talk again about this painting, but this time about the woman and the man and who they are looking at and why they look serious or sad. So sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can.

This is a painting of a farmer and his daughter. They live in Iowa and they make money and they eat through the work, the farm work they do.  They raise food and they raise animals. They are farmers.

But why are they so serious looking and why is the woman, the adult, the grown-up daughter of the farmer, why is she looking sad?  And who is she looking at or what is she looking at? 

Well, let me tell you a story. This woman, Sarah, has a boyfriend. Her boyfriend’s name is Tom. Tom is the boyfriend of Sarah. Tom is not a farmer. No, Tom is not a farmer like Sarah and her dad. Tom is a school teacher. He teaches children in the town near the farm where Sarah and her father live. Tom is different from Sarah’s father and that is why Sarah loves him.

She loves Tom because he is not like her father. Tom is smart. Tom thinks a lot. Tom reads a lot. Tom  discusses, talks about ideas and Sarah loves that. Now Sarah’s father, William, he does not read. He does not think a lot. He does not talk about ideas, but he is smart, also, a different kind of smart. 

Farmer William can build anything with his hands and with tools he can fix things around the farm. And he can repair farm tools, farm equipment. He is smart and Sarah’s boyfriend is smart but they are smart, intelligent in different ways.

So, what is the problem? The problem is this:  Tom has just been offered a new job in a city far away in Ohio. Sarah lives in Iowa on a farm and Tom is going to move to a city in Ohio and Tom has asked Sara, “Will you marry me? Will you become my wife? Will you move with me to Ohio so I can start my new job?”

Sarah was really happy and excited. She wanted to marry Tom. She wanted to move to a big town in a different state. But last night when she talked to her father, the Farmer William, when she told her father this news, he said, “No! You CANNOT go with Tom. You cannot leave me. You cannot leave this farm. I need you.”

Well, why does Farmer William need Sarah? Well, Sarah’s mom, her mother, died 10 years ago and Sarah has been running the farm, working the farm with her dad, cooking and cleaning and helping.

Sarah was very sad. So, today her boyfriend Tom, came over to the farm to talk to Sarah’s dad, Farmer William. He said, “Mr. Box, please, may I marry your daughter, Sarah? She is a good woman. She wants to go with me to Ohio when I move out there next week.”

But Mr. Box, Farmer William said, “No, young man, Sarah’s place is here on this farm. I need Sarah.”  So, that is why Sarah is serious and sad. Tom Is leaving next week for Ohio and her father has said she cannot go with him.

So, who is Sarah looking at? She’s looking at Tom and she’s hoping that her father, Farmer William, will change his mind. So what do you think? Do you think Sarah will go with her boyfriend, Tom? Or do you think she will stay on the farm with her father? Tell me what you think. Tell me how you might picture the story continuing. 

And don’t forget, if you haven’t already subscribed to this Youtube channel, you can do that. And if you are a teacher or a language coach or tutor in English and you would like to receive my newsletter, you can go to this website or you can send me an email at Maria@Englishwithoutfear.com Well, that’s all for today. Talk to you next time. 



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