Wednesday, January 21, 2009

External Form (Sonnets) #1: The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus p.1027

In the first eight lines or octave of this sonnet, the Statue of Liberty or "Mother of Exile" is described. In the sonnet, the Statue of Liberty is idolized into the "beacon-hand glowing worldwide welcome" between the "twin cities frame" a.k.a. Manhattan and Brooklyn, serving as the beacon of hope and symbol of freedom to all the immigrants coming to Ellis Island. The title "The New Colossus" draws connection to the "brazen giant of Greek fame,"referring to The Colossus of Rhodes, the 100-ft statue of the sun god Helios and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This comparison shows the great symbol of power the statue is to the many immigrants "teeming (the) shore."
In the last six lines (or sestet) the statue of liberty broadcasts the message, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" to all the tired and battered immigrants entering the U.S. This poem held such a connection to the Statue of Liberty that in 1945, all fourteen lines of the poem were engraved on the main entrance of the Statue. This 8-6 sonnet form is usually called the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet. Named after the early master of this structure, the Italian poet Petrarch.


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