This image expresses many antebellum reformers' domestic vision. This
family is clearly a part of the emerging middle class. No workman or laborer,
father clearly retains a professional or office job. His salary enables
mother to stay at home tending to the children and, by implication, an
aged grandmother. He is well groomed and signals, by spending his leisure
time with his family, that he is not prone to drunkenness or the other
debaucheries that plagued so many antebellum families. Note how mother
has averted her face from the audience, presumably in humility and self-sacrifice.