Monday, November 17, 2008

The Elements of Poetry in "The New Colossus"

The New Colossus
By Emma Lazarus
Image Source

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 lighting, 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!"

There are many elements of poetry in this poem. There are metaphors, similes, alliteration, rhyming, and even a hyperbole.
Metaphor is a phrase or sentence that compares something to another without using like or as. An example of a metaphor in this poem is in the phrase "...whose flame, Is the imprisoned lightning...". This compares the flame (or the fake build flame in this case) to lightning that was kept in the metal torch.
There are many examples of alliteration in this poem. One of them is in the phrase "wretched refuse", and though they don't start with the same letter, they start off with the same sound which makes it easier to understand and memorize and also take in the information. Another Example of alliteration in the poem is on the third line, "sea-washed, sunset gates". I think this shows good alliterations because "sea-washed" and "sunset" start off with the same sound and makes the phrase sound better. A third example of alliteration is "world-wide welcome". Not only does it make the phrase sound better, it's easier to understand what the poet is trying to say.
Similes are phrases of comparison. These are similar to metaphors except these are less vague about their comparison by using words like as and like. "Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame" in the first line is a simile because it compares the Statue of Liberty to the great Greek statue, Helios, using the word like.
Hyperboles are phrases of exaggeration. Lines 11 and 12 are hyperboles because they exaggerate that the "refuse" - which are like the people that others don't really care about (esp.: beggars, homeless...) - being wretched. Not all beggars and homeless are un-happy though they can be un-fortunate.
Rhyming is everywhere in this poem. The words with matching colors rhyme with each other, thus, making it is easier to take in, understand, and memorise the poem.