Last year, in my senior year of high school, I took a college level English class. I loved this class, my teacher had so much interesting insight over everything in the curriculum. In fact, even though I paid five hundred dollars and none of the credits of the class was transferred over to Macaulay, I never resented taking the class. What really made the class memorable was the study of Transcendentalism. The beginning of the class led up to the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau and the topics for the rest of the year revolved around their ideas.
The sole reason I am bringing this up is because Stephanie’s poem was favored by Emerson, who is one of my favorite people of all time. Over the past couple of days, I was trying to establish a connection between her poem, “The New Colossus,” and Transcendentalism. After a little bit of research, I found out that Emma Lazarus, the poet, considered Emerson as her mentor. Clearly, Emerson influenced Lazarus’s works and I wanted to find traces of Emerson in the poem.
Reading the poem, it was clear that Lazarus was a follower of Transcendentalism. My favorite aspect of Transcendentalism is the idea of how traditional societies trump a person’s sense free thought. I think the Lazarus pictured America as a place where society does not oppose free thought, “Give me your…Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” However, I may be wrong because Emerson wrote about how American society does the opposite. One day, may be for a future English class, I will invest a great deal of time to search up legitimate, research based, relations between the two.