Girl in Translation

The Liberty Goddess Symbol Analysis

The Liberty Goddess Symbol Icon

The Liberty Goddess (the Statue of Liberty) symbolizes Kim’s hope that, regardless of the obstacles and issues she and Ma face, New York still holds opportunities for success. At several points throughout the novel, Kim describes how New York is thought of in Hong Kong: a sparkling paradise where the Liberty Goddess watches over the city and where anything is possible—a place that is equated with success. Notably, though Kim finds herself disillusioned with much of her life in New York, including the city itself, the Liberty Goddess is the one thing that holds up to her idealized hopes and dreams. When Matt takes Kim and Ma to see it for the first time, about three years after their arrival in the U.S., Kim is in awe of its size and the goddess's beauty.

The Liberty Goddess Quotes in Girl in Translation

The Girl in Translation quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Liberty Goddess. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of Girl in Translation published in 2010.
Eight Quotes

I held my breath when we finally got a good view of the Liberty Goddess. She was so close and so magnificent. Ma and Matt were right next to me. Ma squeezed my hand.

"How long we've dreamed of this," she said.

"We're here," I said. "We're really in America."

Related Characters: Kim (speaker), Ma (speaker), Matt
Related Symbols: The Liberty Goddess
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Liberty Goddess Symbol Timeline in Girl in Translation

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Liberty Goddess appears in Girl in Translation. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
After a drive in which eleven-year-old Kim searched futilely for skyscrapers and the Liberty Goddess , Aunt Paula and Uncle Bob park the car in a run-down, dirty neighborhood. Everyone... (full context)
Eight
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...he strikes a pose with one arm raised. Kim giggles that he looks like the Liberty Goddess . (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
...be offended and as they banter, he learns that Kim has never actually seen the Liberty Goddess or Manhattan. He suggests they all go out on Sunday. Kim is delighted. She's disappointed... (full context)
Poverty and Shame Theme Icon
Family, Choices, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Work vs. Education Theme Icon
Independence and Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Immigrant Experience Theme Icon
Finally, Matt ushers Ma and Kim onto the Staten Island Ferry to see the Liberty Goddess . When they finally see her, Kim thinks she's magnificent. Kim says that they're really... (full context)