The New Colossus

Poem by Emma Lazarus
Read the poem and answer the discussion questions below.

Discuss
 

  1. Have you read this poem before? If not, are you familiar with parts of it? Which parts? 
     

  2. What is this poem about? Why is it famous? (Hint: It is about an iconic U.S. landmark.) 
     

  3. How does this poem portray the landmark? To what extent do you think this characterization of the landmark (and of the United States) is accurate? 
     

  4. How is this poem relevant to the history of the United States? Explain.

Emmalazarusengraving.jpg

An engraved portrait of Emma Lazarus, ca. 1888.

"The Colossus of Rhodes," engraved for the New Geographical Dictionary, 1790.

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"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand 
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame 

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” 

Introduction
Read the poem "The New Colossus" and discuss its relevance to U.S. society.
 

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