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The Statue Of Liberty Lending Credence To The Word Freedom In America

1176 words - 5 pages

The Statue of Liberty Lending Credence to the Word Freedom in America

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognized artifacts of freedom in the world. It has the ability to create emotions that range from happiness to anger all at one time. The best way to analyze such a powerful image is to use Kenneth Burke’s idea of pentadic analysis. By using this method of the analysis, we will be able to answer the rhetorical question: How does the Statue of Liberty lend credence to the word “freedom” in America?

To begin with, it is necessary to obtain some background on the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty was given to the United States in 1886 as a gift from France and dedicated as a national monument in 1924 (1). Standing at approximately 46.50 meters and weighing 225 tons it was the largest structure, at the time, to have entered the United States via Ellis Island, New York (1). Before the entrance of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island was used as a border for immigrants who wanted to be a part of “the land of the free and the home of the brave (2).” With the coming of the Statue, there was something tangible for new Americans to see when they entered the country. With its newfound fame as the first visual representation of the immigrants, the Statue also soon became a link to the idea of freedom and a brighter future.

In 1976, a renovation project began to fix some mistakes made in its initial transport to the United States. Lee Iacocca, CEO of the Chrysler Motor Corporation at the time (3), led this renovation. Iacocca began calling the Statue of Liberty, “Lady Liberty”, as he was fixing the crown, torch and replacing the copper with bronze (3). This new title also shed some light on the significance of the Statue because now liberty and justice had taken over the form of a woman, tasked to watch over the United States like a mother does her children (3).

With the background of the Statue of Liberty, we can move on to the importance of the application of Burke’s pentad model in this artifact. Burke’s initial idea of pentadic analysis stems from his view of dramatism (4). According to Burke, dramatism is a way of analyzing material with the desire to form a direct link between human motives and clusters of terminology (4). Foss (1996) points out that dramatism has two fundamental assumptions. The first assumption is that “language constitutes action, not motion (4)” and the second assumption is that “humans develop and present messages in much the same way that a play is presented (4).”

Burke took the idea of action being at the heart of drama a step further, by establishing three conditions for action (4). The first requirement is that any action taken must be by choice (4). This is due to the fact that if we are made to do something, then it is really just a matter of acting mechanically (4). Second is notion that action has to have a purpose (4). This purpose can be conscious or unconscious, but...

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