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The New Colossus and Dirty Blvd

            The lyrical texts The New Colossus and Dirty Blvd, written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and Lou Reed in 1988 respectively, focus on the notion of the American Dream. The New Colossus emphasizes the great difference between the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Liberty, where the poem is engraved on a plate. Unlike the Colossus of Rhodes with his conquering limbs (l. 1) in accordance with his myth, the Statue of Liberty, holding up a torch (l. 4) for the world to see, being the Mother of Exiles (l. 6) and having mild eyes (l. 7), is positively attributed. It supposedly welcomes immigrants from all over the world. The poems second stanza states that people having suffered hardship in the ancient lands (l. 9) will find a better life with freedom in America.
             The alliteration world-wide welcome (l. 7) as well as the enumeration Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses (l. 10/11) with the repeated use of your stresses the readiness to admit everyone regardless of origin or social class. The last expression golden door (l. 14) implies the special attractiveness of America. Contrary to this, the song Dirty Blvd points out the negative sides of the American Dream. It reports on the life of young Pedro in New York City under impoverished conditions. Living in an expensive but shabby flat with his violent father and nine siblings, his future seems to lie on the dirty boulevard (see title), where nobody has great dreams. Brought up on their knees, the children appear to be worth less than others. The song draws on The New Colossus, saying the Statue of Liberty actually destroys the lives and dreams of the disadvantaged (piss on em, club em to death, dump em on the boulevard). On the other hand, the city is also described with its glamorous places and people. However, unseen from the public, there are prostitutes and a child selling plastic roses for a buck. The song ends with Pedro finding a book on magic, his wish to disappear and a repeated outcry to fly away from the boulevard.

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