In "The New Colossus," what do you think the author is trying to say in the second paragraph that begins: "Keep, ancient lands..?"

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emma Lazarus wrote "The New Colossus" in 1883 as a celebration of the Statue of Liberty. At the time of writing, the statue was not built, let alone installed (this did not happen until 1886) but, already, Lazarus recognised its potency as a symbol of American freedom and liberty. 

In essence, then, the second stanza of the poem offers a hearty welcome and a message of encouragement to future immigrants. In this call to action, she portrays foreign nations as being dominated by "storied pomp" and neglectful to their people. As a result, these people have become "tired" and "poor" and are now "yearning to break free." In fact, their lives are so bad that they are huddled on the "teeming shores," desperate to get away.

Life in these foreign countries contrasts sharply with the "golden door" to America. Here, Lady Liberty will lift her "lamp" to welcome immigrants and direct them in their new lives. She is, thus, portrayed as a caring and welcoming figure, akin to a mother, who will turn no person away and who will nurture and protect against the tyranny of the Old World. 

 

 

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