Study Guide

The Golem and the Jinni The Statue of Liberty

By Helene Wecker

The Statue of Liberty

Sweet Land of Liberty

The first site many immigrants see when arriving in New York City is the Statue of Liberty. That's what she's there for: to welcome. She was fairly new in 1899 (when our book is set), having been dedicated only a few years earlier in 1886. Michael gazes upon the Statue of Liberty at one point and tries "to draw strength from her calm and compassionate gaze" (14.4). Good luck, buddy.

When the Golem first sees Lady Liberty, she wonders, just for a second, if she's a Golem: "This, too, the Golem thought, was a constructed woman. Whatever she meant to the others, she was loved and respected for it" (1.134). Lady Liberty is a good idol for the Golem, who is the ultimate immigrant: She not only has to make a new life for herself, but it's her first life—as a stranger in a strange land, the Golem's entire existence is inundated with newness. And the Statue of Liberty gives her hope that she can make an okay life for herself.

We're just glad the Statue of Liberty isn't actually a golem, or we might have to suffer through The Golem and the Jinni 2: The Golem That Ate New York.