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Date of Award

Spring 2017


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Document Type

Thesis: EWU Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Communications


Communication Studies


This study focuses on the inter-animating properties of the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus’ corresponding sonnet, “The New Colossus.” The research explores how these two forms of communication, one visual and one verbal, invite public perceptions that permit them both to retain their individuality as distinctive “artifacts,” each with their own history and rhetorical goals, and yet are able to synthesize when needed. After examining the history and applying Close Textual Analysis to both artifacts, the study concludes that the meanings embodied in the Statue of Liberty’s structure have remained stable over time. The sonnet modifies the rhetorical intent of the statue and adds layers of meaning to the entire monument, including the concept of welcoming refugees to our shores. The monument is a unique icon on the American landscape for several reasons, including its mutability, its synthetic ability to offer multiple meanings for public memorializing, its gendered structure and voice, and the role of the sonnet in generating a “turn” in how Americans understand the statue.