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Assisi Norman Maccaig Critical Essay Thesis

Presentation on theme: "‘Assisi’ by Norman MacCaig"— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Assisi’ by Norman MacCaig

2 Past Paper QuestionsChoose a poem which could be considered as having a powerful message.Show how the poet effectively conveys this message through his or her use of poetic techniques.Choose a poem in which the poet creates a particular mood or atmosphere.Show how the poet creates this mood or atmosphere by his or her choice of subject matter and use of poetic techniques.Choose a poem which portrays and interesting character.Show how the poet uses poetic techniques to make the character interesting.

3 Past Paper QuestionsChoose a poem which has as one of its central concerns a personal, social or religious issue.Show how the content and the poetic techniques used increase your understanding of the issue.

4 Past Paper QuestionsChoose a poem which creates an atmosphere of sadness, pity or loss.Show how the poet creates the atmosphere and what effect it has on the subject matter of the poem.Choose a poem which reflects on an aspect of human behaviour in such a way as to deepen your understanding of human nature.Describe the aspect of human behaviour which you have identified and show how the poet’s use of ideas and techniques brought you to a deeper understanding of human nature.

5 Past Paper QuestionsChoose a poem which creates pity or sympathy in you.Show how the feelings of pity or sympathy are brought into focus by the use of poetic techniques.Choose a poem which describes a scene or incident vividly.Briefly state what is being described and then go on to show how the poetic techniques used make the description vivid.

6 Who was St Francis? Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in 1181, he was the patron saint of animals. He came from a wealthy family, but he lived a poor life as he loved the poor and pitied their suffering.

7 SituationMacCaig observes a deformed beggar outside the Church of St Francis in the Italian town of Assisi. The beggar is ignored by the priest and tourists who are being shown Giotto’s famous frescoes.ThemesThe hypocrisy of the Church,The plight/isolation of the disabled,Rich v. poor/social injusticeThe apathy of society towards the less fortunate

8 Stanza 1MacCaig begins by describing the beggar using brutal language.He is juxtaposed with the grand church of St Francis.Tone is created through the negative and unsympathetic description of the beggar.

9 The dwarf with his hands on backwards
‘Assisi’ - STANZA 1The dwarf with his hands on backwardssat, slumped like a half-filled sackon tiny twisted legs from whichsawdust might run,outside the three tiers of churches builtin honour of St Francis, brotherof the poor, talker with birds, over whomhe had the advantageof not being dead yet.Description of beggar in negative termsContrast with grand church and gentle saintJuxtaposition

10 The dwarf with his hands on backwards
‘Assisi’ - STANZA 1The dwarf with his hands on backwardssat, slumped like a half-filled sackon tiny twisted legs from whichsawdust might run,SimileDehumanise beggar. Emphasise physical ugliness/ deformitiesMetaphorAlliteration/onomatopoeiaSuggests the sadness/pathos of beggar’s existence /emphasises heaviness of his body.

11 ‘Assisi’ - STANZA 1 outside the three tiers of churches built
in honour of St Francis, brotherof the poor, talker with birds, over whomhe had the advantageof not being dead yet.Irony – being alive is the only thing going for him yet harsh description suggests beggar would be better off deadSarcastic –anger at the treatment of beggar.Emphasises that life is temporary - negates the only positive thing about the beggar.

12 Stanza 2Stanza 2 moves inside the church where the priest, who is acting more as a tour guide is showing the aesthetic beauty of the church and showing the paintings depicting the word of God.

13 Stanza 2, lines 10-17A priest explained how clever it was of Giotto to make his frescoes tell stories that would reveal to the illiterate the goodness of God and the suffering of His Son. I understood the explanation and the cleverness.Hypocrisy – teaching others about God and ignoring the need for charity in front of him. Uselessness – teach to read

14 Cliché – lost all meaning
Stanza 2, lines 10-17A priest explained how clever it was of Giotto to make his frescoes tell stories that would reveal to the illiterate the goodness of God and the suffering of His Son. I understood the explanation and the cleverness.EnjambmentCliché – lost all meaningCynical/critical/unimpressed - portraying superficial message but ignoring the need for charity.

15 Stanza 3 Introduction of the tourists.
Priest continues to show the crowd around. They ignore the beggar.Further brutal description of beggar – list of deformities. Anti-climax – surprising description of beggar’s voice which is “sweet” and “gentle”.

16 Stanza 3, lines 18-27 the ruined temple outside, whose eyes
A rush of tourists, clucking contentedly,fluttered after him as he scatteredthe grain of the Word. It was they who had passedthe ruined temple outside, whose eyeswept pus, whose back was higherthan his head, whose lopsided mouthsaid Grazie in a voice as sweetas a child’s when she speaks to her motheror a bird’s when it spoketo St Francis.

17 Stanza 3A rush of tourists, clucking contentedly, fluttered after him as he scattered the grain of the Word.Absentmindedly following -Not understanding message - highlights the hypocrisy of the church and apathy of society to the poor and disabled.Extended metaphorMore interested in looking like good Christians than actually being one.Attitude - Unfavourable/ disapproving.

18 Stanza 3... the grain of the Word. It was they who had passed the ruined temple outside, whose eyes wept pus, whose back was higher than his head, whose lopsided mouthReligious allusions

19 Anti Climax-emphasise inner beauty/contrast with appearance
Stanza 3Anti Climax-emphasise inner beauty/contrast with appearancesaid Grazie in a voice as sweetas a child’s when she speaks to her motheror a bird’s when it spoketo St Francis.InnocenceFinal line is a reference to St Francis which drives home the poet’s message and condemnation of those who ignore his preaching in favour of admiring physical beauty.

20 Looking at the poem as a whole
StructureEach stanza begins with a description of one of the main characters. 1- beggar, 2 – priest, 3 – tourists.  reinforces the lack of contact between them and the isolation of the beggar.Poem ends as it begins  more brutal descriptions of the beggar and his disabilities.

21 “Assisi” is a poem of contrasts
Dwarf and the church  juxtaposition of beggar and church. “three tiers” -- “ruined temple”.Natural goodness of St Francis and the callous indifference of the priest. Language used to describe St Francis is good and pure. Language to describe priest = elaborate, abstract which suggests proud, pompous nature.Dwarf – he is ugly but voice is sweetRich tourists ignore poor beggarCaring nature of Christianity – preaching vs. practice.

A Critical Evaluation of Assisi by Norman MacCaig Essay

1474 Words6 Pages

A Critical Evaluation of Assisi

Q: Choose a poem in which the poet has put across a definite point of view. By close reference to the poetic techniques used, show how successful the poet has been in making you share his/ her point of view. “Assisi” by Norman MacCaig is an intriguing and thought-provoking poem, which has put across a definite point of view to me which I believe is that all people should be treated equally and we should try to help those less fortunate than ourselves. In this essay I will show how successful the poet has been in making me share his point of view, with the help of literary techniques such as language, word – choice and imagery.

Norman MacCaig has put across a definite point of view for me…show more content…

In addition, another aspect of language, which MacCaig uses to put across his point of view to me, is alliteration. The poet uses this in stanza three when he refers to the tourists who ignored the dwarf and went after the priest, who was also ignoring the dwarf as he says,

“A rush of tourists, clucking contentedly,

Fluttered after him as he scattered

The grain of the word.”

By using these lines and the technique of alliteration of the letter
C, MacCaig is alluding to the parable of the sower when the seed fell on the path and the birds came to eat it up. Here MacCaig is comparing the tourists that are at the church to being the birds in the parable of the sower. This is because in the parable, the sower threw seed on the ground for the birds to eat and they were clucking around him after it. This is a comparison as this is what is happening with the tourists that are fluttering around the priest as he spreads the word. This helped MacCaig to get his point across to me as it helped me to understand the poem better by referring to the parable.

MacCaig also uses pun to get his point of view across to me as he says, “I understood the explanation and the cleverness.”

Here, the use of pun is through the word ‘clever’ as in reality it means that it was skilful of Giotto to paint pictures to help the illiterate understand the goodness of God. However MacCaig also is trying to

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