H[U.S.]TLE Cindy Giron

The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of independence, freedom, and opportunity- the cornerstones of our national identity. Written at the base of the statue is Emma Lazarus’ "New Colossus" which reads“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. This inscription supports the notion that America is the land of immigrants seeking the American Dream. Unfortunately, Trump's travel ban tainted this ideal and has instead lead to America's treatment of immigrants to be one of ignorance and intolerance. Many reacted to this exigency using television as a platform to expose Trump's rhetoric as deceit and conjecture. For instance, 84 Lumber Company unveiled the valor and the admirable tenacity of immigrants. Through strong imagery, the commercial accentuated a compassionate and pathetic tone to refute the accusatory claims against immigrants. Through the analysis of the unfolding journey, the audience acquires an understanding of how a dream becomes tangible.

The 84 Lumber commercial is intended to propose a different perspective opposed to Trump's deceptive insight on immigration. Trump’s remarks during the election season portrayed immigrants as threats to the stability of the United States. He asserted, “When Mexico sends its people…they’re sending people that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” His antipathetic tone toward immigrants contributed to the xenophobia and misinformed perceptions of immigrants. His antagonistic sentiment was expressed in his plan to build a wall to address the issue of illegal immigration in the United States. The commercial strives to express humanity and provoke feelings of compassion for a Hispanic mother and daughter who embark on a journey of sacrifice and determination. It beautifully conveys an immigrant's courage for abandoning an entire life to pursue of a brighter future in a foreign country.

The journey begins in the humble home of two hispanic protagonists. The rhetor chose to provide some insight into the standard of living in these struggling communities. In this particular scenario, the audience can imply that the mother and daughter are seeking opportunities for education, employment, and other methods to facilitate social mobility. This emphasizes the notion that immigrants are not criminals but rather refugees or dreamers envisioning the United States as a haven and coveted home. A dream for a better life should not classify immigrants as criminals.

The realization of their dream and aspirations requires immigrants to manifest courage and express attributes associated with heroism to save themselves from their oppressive present and future. The assertion of courage is supported by the imagery of the goodbye kiss on the forehead by the mother to her father and the hug between the grandfather and the granddaughter. These emotion filled instances are representative of detachment from familiarity and pursuit toward a better future for their families and themselves. It is disheartening for the audience to witness the separation of families in the hope of achieving the American Dream which cannot be guaranteed to all immigrants. The distinctive feature of immigrants is their understanding of the true meaning of sacrifice at the expense of familiarity. At the beginning of the commercial the daughter answers with a simple “Si” when the mother asks if she is ready. She is saying yes to challenges, resilience, and fortitude and committing to a dream. The commitment to a better life reinforces the notion of faith and hope which establishes an assertive and insistent tone on behalf of immigrants.

Immigrants are portrayed positively and given the identity of industrious and sedulous individuals who take responsibility of their fate through committing to improve their lives. The rhetor implies a particular connection between immigrants and 84 Lumber workers. Both are portrayed to possess diligence and fortitude, characteristics that comprise the American spirit and contribute to the country's identity as a melting pot of exceptional work ethic. The CEO of Lumber 84 succinctly said, “The journey of the mother and daughter was a demonstration of the human spirit — grit, determination and hard work." 84 Lumber chose to portray immigrants in this light to show parallels to their own identity and values and express an attitude of acceptance toward anyone who simply aspires to thrive. Their main objective was to depict 84 Lumber as a "company of opportunity" to those who are willing to undertake the challenge of hard work. If immigrants choose to risk their lives crossing dangerous terrain on the pathway to a better life, 84 Lumber wants to laud that resilience and accentuate this attribute to many Americans who have a tainted view of immigrants and their intentions.

In order to fully comprehend the affliction of the journey and its onerous nature, the audience must compare the mother's facial expressions to the daughter's. The daughter's face of hope and optimism serves a contrast to the mother's face of concern and apprehension. The audience can imply that she has faced innumerable forms of oppression and knows this is her only opportunity for a better life. Her concern is due to the possibility that this journey might not produce desirable results and she will feel incompetent because she will have failed her daughter and her future family. The essence of the commercial is the enchantment with the future, attempting to break the continuity of misfortunate.

The daughter's facial expression, body language and actions suggest she is confident in her will and her indefatigability. The daughter envisions a promising future and is enthusiastic in terms of what the United States can offer. This notion was reinforced with her makeshift American flag made from red, white, and blue scraps she picked up from her travel route to the American border. The flag is a culmination of her admiration, predisposed love, and reverence in a tangible form. Her naiveté is evident; she is does not understand the possible negative outcomes of this journey. She is a child, susceptible to the idea that there is always a happily ever after. Her smile and enthusiasm appeal to the human and benevolent side. This rhetorical strategy will primarily appeal to mothers who have children and desire to care and protect their vulnerability and maintain their innocence.

The "Entire Journey" is the title given to this commercial by 84 Lumber. The diction of "journey" can be associated with trials and tribulations that require the power of endurance and determination because this experience can be traumatic and horrific. The route can be tainted with death from dehydration and starvation and individuals are at risk of enduring the cruelty of immigration officers indicating that the route is not foolproof. Why would immigrants subject themselves to this emotional torture? They have faith of a better tomorrow, faith that "si se puede" (yes we can), faith that sacrifice is rewarded and faith in humanity. The commercial chose to focus on will, the drive, and the passion epitomized by immigrants to subject themselves to an unpredictable journey of suffering and self deprivation. They incorporated snippets of the journey, such as the truck ride, the moment of the daughter's dehydration, the agonizing walk through the water, the storm, and the dessert to display a pathetic appeal and engage the audience in their journey, to make the audience feel the distress and uncertainty. Critics might argue that there is a fallacy in not accurately portraying the journey, but the audience must keep in perspective that the commercial is not a documentary, but an effort of a brand to attach its product to a social issue to raise awareness and open the discussion of immigration in the corporate world. 84 Lumber chose to address a controversial issue knowing it generate a broad spectrum of responses from praise to criticism in order to create a memorable message.

The finish line is the American border, but both are startled and pause in disquietude at the view of the wall. The wall is symbolic of the hatred, antagonistic and selfish features of the privileged to help those in need- a symbolic separation between the haves and the have-nots. The panorama of the wall presents an obstacle to the immigrants, an impediment to the accomplishment of their objectives. The audience can see in the faces of the protagonist the disillusionment and uneasinesses as concern embodied them. The audience cannot help but feel empathy for the young girl when she takes out her American flag made from different colored scraps as a form of consolation when her mother begins to cry in hopelessness. The young girl already feels an attachment and identifies with the United States. In pure despair the mother hugs her daughter in tears due to concern of their fate, but to find comfort in her daughter's arms.

When all hope seems lost, the big revelation is a light penetrating though the wall that captures the mother's attention. Their facial experiences rapidly change from apprehension to sheer euphoria as they stare at their opportunity presented in the form of a door, a gateway to social mobility that will demonstrate their sacrifices were not in vain.

The door opens and the sun shines through, symbolizing a sense of brightness associated with their future. The sun could be an opportunity for growth and power to change their destiny.
"THE WILL TO SUCCEED IS ALWAYS WELCOME HERE" The only words used in the commercial accentuate the overall meaning of the commercial.

The mystery arises from the oddity that the CEO, Maggie Hardy Magerko is a Trump supporter and approves of Trump's proposed plan to construct the wall to obstruct illegal immigration. This discovery defies the idea of binary thinking. She can support the wall as a blockade to criminals and yet support the wall for those who want to succeed. The diction of "welcome" in the last scene establishes a tone of acceptance as presented by the Statue of Liberty. It becomes an open invitation to hopeful and hardworking humans. It asserts that no human should be illegal and insinuates that love in the form of acceptance is what makes America great.

Works Cited:

Payne, Marissa. "84 Lumber CEO: Super Bowl Ad Showing Trump’s Wall Wasn’t Intended to Be Political." The Washington Post. WP Company, 07 Feb. 2017. Web. 03 Apr. 2017

Created By
Cindy Giron

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