Useful Notes: Statue of Liberty

Liberty Enlightening the World...

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

The Statue of Liberty has become such a world-renowned icon that just by seeing it most people instantly realize either where the setting of a story is (New York City) or that it involves America and its ideals in some way.

A gift from the people of France (to celebrate the parallel fights for freedom of Colonial America and Revolutionary France, and having helped each other many times) the statue sits on a pedestal on Liberty Island, located just off the coast of Manhattan. It is highly visible from Ellis Island, where immigrants to the United States used to be processed before entering the country.

The statue itself was designed by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdinote . Bartholdi on a visit to America selected Bedloe's Island (known as Liberty Island today) as the location. The project often stalled for funding, and recieved contributions from many people in France and America. engineering and construction was handled by several people. The final interior work was done by none other than Gustav Eiffel himself. The money for the statue came from several contributors, after a major drive by Joseph Pulitzer which caught people's imagination.

Properly building and setting up the statue took years; it became a project that attracted national interest. Pieces such as the arm and head were exposed to the public before installation. Naturally, there was a big celebration upon its conclusion.

One of the Seven (manmade) Wonders of the World.

Tropes it has evoked:

  • After the End / Alternate Landmark History: Often seen in these kind of works to show how Man's hubris is ultimately pointless... or give hope that humanity will rise again.
  • American Dream: Considered the embodiment of the Dream.
  • An Immigrant's Tale: Its an important part of the iconography of the American immigrant as lionized in Charlie Chaplin's The Immigrant and The Godfather Part II.
    • Emma Lazarus poem specifically made the statue part of the immigrant story. She was an American Jewish poet who had initially refused the offer but after working with refugees from European pogroms, came to understand what America meant to people who were outcasts of society:
    Paul Auster: "Bartholdi's gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism, but The New Colossus reinvented the statue's purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world."
  • Big Applesauce: Can't have New York City without it.
  • Captain Ersatz: Many people mistake Columbia, the figure in the opening sequence of Columbia Pictures films, with her.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: What do you mean, the FRENCH made it??. All jokes aside, the statue is essentially derived from the iconography of The French Revolution. The Roman Goddess Liberty was revived by the Revolutionaries and they installed statues, often crude ones in the altar of Notre Dame and in the Place de la Revolution. After the July Revolution, the painter Eugène Delacroix's famous masterpiece, Liberty Leading the People revived Liberty as an iconic figure, later renamed Marianne. The Statue was built in the Third Republic after the Franco-Prussian War and intended to celebrate the survival of Democracy after a long struggle.
  • Eagleland: Either version. But mostly version one, even cynics get sentimental about the statue.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Well Gustave Eiffel did the engineering for it, so technically it is an Eiffel Tower. The Statue often serves as an instant metonym for America and New York.
  • Expy: The statue has numerous smaller copies around the world, most famously the one in Las Vegas.
    • The statue itself was likened by Emma Lazarus as a modern version of the Colossus of Rhodes. With one major difference. The Greek Colossus celebrates conquest, Lady Liberty is a guardian standing by the Golden Door welcoming people to the New World. Incidentally, the Statue of Liberty has outlasted the original Colossus, which stood for only 54 years.
  • Green-Skinned Metal Babe: The statue was originally made of shining copper, but the weather changed it over the years. The public liked it that way so much they resisted attempts to restore it.
  • Humongous Mecha: If it's a Weaponised Landmark, it tends to be this.
  • Living Statue: In many works, most notably Ghostbusters II. Or as a Weeping Angel.
  • Monumental Damage: The shock value of seeing it damaged or destroyed is enormous, most famously in the original Planet of the Apes (1968). It has even been "stolen" on occasion.
  • Weaponized Landmark: In X-Men, Men In Black II and other stories.

Alternative Title(s):

Statue Of Liberty