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Mr. Howard Nemerov presents his readers with a valid point in the poem, “Money”, which captures honor, freedom, and injustice. Currency maneuvers its way into our society, and usually leaves a lasting impression. Whether we save, spend, or collect money it tells a story. Symbolism plays an important role when comparing it to money. There are icons and cryptograms conveniently placed on each coin. Each “piece” represents its own symbol, then brought to its keeper to create his or her own meaning.
Nemerov explains the detail of an American five-cent coin, the nickel. Each symbol that has been stamped or engraved carries a name. The nickel is a proud owner of liberty and equality. There is no doubt the maker of the nickel intended it to be a portrait of America’s progress or history. A picture of a bison poises on one side, letting present and future know we are proud of such a grand animal. Yet, the scrunched posture of the bison obeys the circle shaped coin. Above the contorted body reads, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and in between reads, E PLURIBUS UNUM. The individual meaning of each symbol is strength, but the extinct, disfigured bison portrays America and equivalence. Adding to the injustice, the bison is standing on a perfectly straight FIVE CENTS. Preserved on the other side of the nickel is a culture that began the American way of life, the American Indian. Though there are few American Indians left to claim their ground, the maker has made a point to honor them by adding the image of an Indian. The only recognizable feature is the feathers and long hair. The word LIBERTY hangs above and fits the contour of the nickel, as if mocking the Indian with its literal meaning. Since his glare is not above or forward, I could assume Indians were oblivious of their destiny, and America would like us to remember it. One symbol left out of this side is the importance of the American Indian…he does n...
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