Themes and message

Immigration and freedom

One of the themes explored by Emma Lazarus in the poem “The New Colossus” is the theme of immigration and freedom. The second part of the poem mainly focuses on the immigrants that leave their “ancient lands” (l. 9) in search of freedom and opportunities. The New Colossus claims that people from poor backgrounds are not given a chance in their countries and are even considered “refuse” (l. 12). Therefore, the New Colossus invites immigrants to America:

... ‘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!’ (ll. 10-14)

For the New Colossus – and, implicitly, for America – immigration is something that should be celebrated. The statue welcomes immigrants and offers them a promise of freedom. It is also worth noting that the New Colossus em...

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