I need to add 500 words to my paper contrasting the poems "America" and "New Colossus" , but can't think of what else to say. Any ideas would be appreciated.  I have pasted a very rough draft of my paper below:  In the poems, “America” and “New Colossus,“  experience immigrants in the United States, they differ strongly on the attitude, with Lazarus stating that the United States offered hope and an opportunity to the poor and troubled of other nations, but McKay sees America itself as staying cruel.             When it comes to the authors of the two poems, they both have a different take on the United States and how they interpret it. Emma Lazarus has a German and Jewish background, whose family had prospered in New York for many generations, while Claude McKay has a Jamaican/American background who arrived in America when he was just a teenager. Lazarus perspective of the United States was, it was a place for Jews to have freedom, and where she was able to learn about her Jewish heritage, McKay’s experience was finding out how much racism and cruelty there was in the United States. “McKay arrived in South Carolina, and he was not prepared to discover a racial segregation system that “effectively denied blacks any social or civil intercourse with the white majority except as menials or supplicants. “McKay turned to writing as a way to protest against the government by creating the poem “America” (Tagirova-Daley.) Emma Lazarus wrote the poem, “The New Colossus,” but was never able to see the statue of liberty built. Emma’s poem is about her beliefs on the immigrants being welcomed by a symbol to show change. Even though Emma and Claude wrote poems symbolizing the statue of liberty, they both have a different meaning on why they had written the poems.             When it comes to Claude McKay’s poem to understand “America,” it provides life to nonliving objects by stating “Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,” (1) showing that “she” is America. McKay uses plenty of similes to describe America as a “cultured hell” and “her vigor flows like tides into my blood giving me strength erect against her hate” (5-6) and even “her bigness sweeps my being like a flood” (7). McKay tries to keep his poem interesting and showing his thoughts on what he saw America as being cruel. The imagery that McKay shows in his poem is absorbing as he says in one of the lines “sinks into my throat her tigers tooth, stealing my breath of life, I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth” (2-4), McKay explains in these lines on how America is destroying him.  Even though McKay explains in his poem that America has both energy and power, but it is also filled with racism and just hate for African Americans. At the end of the poem McKay predicts that America will never change, as the statue will sink into the sand and decay.             When it comes to the comparisons and explanations in Lazarus poem on how to understand it, even though we know both poems are talking about the United States and Statue of Liberty, they both have a completely different way of explaining the Statue of liberty. In Lazarus poem, she describes how Americas statue will be of “A mighty woman with a torch / whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,” by stating this she believes America is going to be welcoming, whereas the Colossus was used to frighten those who reached Greece. The Colossus is a bronze statue that Lazarus explains “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, / With conquering limbs astride from land to land.” Lazarus does not come and say “Statue of Liberty “in her poem, but instead references it to “Mother of Exiles.” By calling the “Statue of Liberty “the “Mother of Exiles, “Lazarus believes that she will welcome immigrants and be a mother to them by giving them freedom in America. The most interesting lines are the ones at the end “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” (10-14). In these lines Lazarus explains that the Statue of Liberty is a representation of freedom, regardless of how tired you are, poor, or homeless, the Statue of Liberty welcomes you.   When it comes to interpreting McKay and Lazarus perspective of the United Statues is different, both interpret about the promise America has, but Lazarus poem is more realistic of Americas' promise, while McKay poem interprets what America can offer.  Lazarus poem using lady liberty to stand for Americas' freedom, while in the poem “The New Colossus, “lady liberty stands for conquest. Lazarus uses the lines: “From her beacon hand / Glows world wide welcome; her mild eye command / The air bridged harbor that twin cities frame” (6-8). To show how Liberty is not just a statue but also a message of welcome at the harbor between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Lazarus really indicates that Liberty is a symbol of American Freedom, that welcomes the world with open hands. In McKay’s poem, he as well interprets America has a woman, but unlike Lazarus poem, he shows that Liberty is a cruel person who “feeds me bread of bitterness” (1). McKay’s shows that America is loved, despite the “hell that tests my youth” (4). McKay does show some similes that praises lady Liberty’s appearance, such as “her vigor flows like tides into my blood “(5), and “her bigness sweeps my being like a flood” (7). McKay compares Americas being outstanding to just a marble statue which is stuck in the sands of time. While he shows how great America is, he ends his poem trying to figure out what Americas' future will hold, while Lazarus poem presents that America has a bright future. In conclusion, even though both poems have a few comparisons and are different in many ways with attitude, meaning, tone, and even what their perspectives of United States was, understanding the poems shows how greatly the United States has changed in some ways. Today we still have racism throughout the United States and even immigrants coming to live here, the Statue of Liberty has many different meanings, with many different background stories.  

Expert Answers

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Part of your difficulty is that you don't really seem to have a structure in the essay, which makes it difficult to think of what to say. The main technique which will help you expand your paper is developing a clear structure and then closely researching and thinking about each section. 

First it would help if you divided the paper clearly into subheadings. Your introduction, after setting out your thesis, should include a few transition sentences describing how you will be supporting your thesis and in what order. 

Your first section, with the heading "Emma Lazarus: Themes and Context", should give a brief overview of Lazurus' background and cultural context. It should also very briefly summarize the main points in her poem about immigration.

Your next section might use the heading "Claude McKay: Themes and Context". It should discuss McKay, his island background, his early experiences in the United States, and summarize the attitude found in his poem.

Your next section might focus on literary technique. Both writers are using convention verse forms, following the traditional British models which were followed by many American poets. You might look at why they did this. Lazarus, for example, could have chosen Whitmanesque free verse, but did not,  and McKay could have delved into island tradition or African-American traditions in writing, as did many of his contemporaries in the Harlem Renaissance. Thus in a section on literary techniques you should examine how this sort of cultural assimilation reflects their visions of immigration. 

After this, you could insert one section focusing on race and then the very nice material you have on gender, followed by your material on attitudes towards America and your conclusion. Having this sort of clarity of structure, and using headings to clearly separate themes, will make adding material much easier. 


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