Paired Texts > The New Colossus
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Anzia Yezierska (1880-1970) was a Jewish-American immigrant and novelist known for her writing on immigration, assimilation, and Jewish-American lives. "America and I" is Yezierska's short essay about her struggles adapting to her new country.Pair “The New Colossus” with “America and I” and ask students to discuss the relationship between immigration and the United States. Consider the hope the poem instills in the incoming immigrants.
In this short memoir, a Lithuanian immigrant tells of his hopes, struggles, and successes throughout his experience coming to America.Pair “The New Colossus” with “From Lithuania to the Chicago Stockyards” to show students the perspective of an immigrant.
In "Fish Cheeks," which is about a Chinese American girl who feels embarrassed by her family during dinner, Tan explores how culture can be essential to a person's identity.Pair “The New Colossus” with “Fish Cheeks” to spark an in-depth conversation about immigration in America. Ask students to think about the following questions: Has the promise of “The New Colossus” been realized? How is immigration in America changed? What can we learn about the experience of Chinese-Americans in contemporary fiction?
During a 1924 congressional debate on immigration, a senator from South Carolina argued that we should "shut the door and breed up a pure, unadulterated American citizen."Pair “The New Colossus” with the “Shut the Door” speech and ask students to consider two different perspectives on immigration.
This informational text describes the tide of new immigrants to the United States from southern and eastern Europe and Asia from the mid-1800s to the 1920s, detailing the struggle they faced due to cultural differences and racism.Pair “The Rush of Immigrants” with “The New Colossus” and ask students to contrast the spirit of acceptance in the poem against the discrimination described in the informational text.
In "America's Shifting Views on Immigration," Mike Kubic discusses the history of immigration in the United States, from immigrants' initial passage through Ellis Island to immigration today.Pair “The New Colossus” with “America’s Shifting Views on Immigration” to allow students to further explore Emma Lazarus’s poem, referenced by Mike Kubic. How does the portrayal of immigrating to the United States in the poem compare to that described in the text “America's Shifting Views on Immigration”? Why did some believe that this poem encouraged immigrants to come to the United States?
In Joseph Bruchac's poem "Ellis Island," a speaker discusses their ancestors who came to America through Ellis Island.Pair “The New Colossus” with “Ellis Island” and ask students to compare the depiction of the Statue of Liberty in the two poems. What does the Statue of Liberty represent in “The New Colossus”? How does this compare to what she stands for in “Ellis Island”? How do the two poems explore America’s history of immigration?