The new collosus

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  • Publié le : 25 juin 2010
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1 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, (rhyme a)

2 With conquering limbs astride from land to land; (b)
3 Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand (b)
4 A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame (a)
5 Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name (a)
6 Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand (b)
7 Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command(b)
8 The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame*. (a)

9 "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she (c)
10 With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, (d)
11 Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, (c)
12 The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. (d)
13 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, (c)
14 I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" (d)My study of The New Colossus will mainly focus on its historical meaning & the many (= les nombreuses) references it contains, and I will at the same time endeavour (= try) to show how its form, style & tone contribute to the message that Emma Lazarus, its author, aimed (=wanted) it to convey (= dégager, transmettre) .

I/ To begin with, I’ll tell you about the author, Emma Lazarus & thecircumstances that made her 1883 poem, The New Colossus, so famous and historic (= that gave it historical value).

A)The basic thing to know is that, originally (= à l’origine, au depart), the last 5 lines of E.Lazarus’s [siz] sonnet were engraved on the base (= the pedestal) of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor in 1912 (nineteen twelve) in order to be read as a generous greeting address tothe thousands of European immigrants that had left, were leaving, or would one day leave their native countries because of poverty, persecution, or war, so as to seek* (= look for) peace, safety , in other words a better life in the U.S.
*to seek, I sought , sought : chercher, recherché
I will examine this message in a detailed way in the final part of my presentation, when I deal with the last 5lines of the poem.

Reminder (= rappel) : The statue, whose real name was “Liberty enlightening the world” was a present from France to the American People for the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence (1776-1876).
In France discussions took many years, & so did financing & building (by the Alsatian sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, & Gustave Eiffel for the frame).
Once inNew-York, the statue was stored (= stockée) for eleven months in crates (=caisses) waiting for its pedestal to be finished, and was then reassembled in four months.
On October the 28th , 1886, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled (= inaugurated) by President Cleveland in front of thousands of spectators. (From Wikipedia)

B)Emma Lazarus, the descendant of Portuguese Sephardic* Jews whose families hadbeen settled in New York since the colonial period (=17th-18th centuries had written The New Colossus in 1883 to help raise money for the construction of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal. [People could buy the poems written in praise (= in honour) of Bartholdi’s statue].
As a Jew herself, and as an educated woman who felt concerned with the have-nots (= the very poor), Emma Lazarus took specialinterest in eastern European Ashkenazi* Jews who immigrated in destitute multitudes to New York in the winter of 1882 due to cruel persecutions & pogroms (= massacres) in the Tsarist Empire (= the Russian Empire). E.Lazarus taught technical education to help them become self-supporting (= à subvenir à leurs besoins par eux-mêmes).
Her writing of The New Colossus may be seen equally as part ofher humanitarian commitment* (= engagement) to the advancement of these deprived (=destitute=disadvantaged=underprivileged) immigrants and as the act of a poet.

[*Sephardic Jews = (= from Spain) juifs originaires d’Espagne et du Portugal
*Ashkenazi Jews = (= from Medieval Germany) juifs originaires d’Allemagne et par extension d’Europe centrale et orientale]

C)Nevertheless (= however),...