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Critical Evaluation - Assisi by Norman McCaig

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Introduction

Critical Evaluation-Assisi A poem that I have been studying recently is Assisi by Norman McCaig, which I found very interesting to read because it made a statement which relates to our world today even though the poem was wrote about thirty or forty years ago. The poem has lots of ideas including effective figures of speech, good choice of words, important images and irony. The statement that McCaig makes is, where ever there is great wealth it always exists along side great poverty. The poem is set in Assisi in Italy around the 1970's were all the rich tourists are coming in hundreds from all different countries far and wide to see the frescoes painted by Giotto in Assisi's huge cathedral. McCaig mainly focuses on the dwarf outside of the three-tier cathedral built in honour of St. Francis. McCaig then proceeds to the priest guiding the tourists around the cathedral telling them the history of Giotto's frescoes and how they individually teach people the goodness of God and the suffering of his son. McCaig uses effective littery techniques to describe the tourists and to describe the dwarf. He then goes on to explain that the tourists are not studying the frescoes and are just there to boast about being there. ...read more.

Middle

Here he is speaking about the dwarf as if he was an old teddy bear, he is saying that his legs are so worn out that sawdust might run from them, this is what happened to the teddy bears in the late 19th centaury, they were filled with sawdust and if they wore away the sawdust would run out. In stanza 3 McCaig called the dwarf "a ruined temple.", this gives the image of the dwarf who is battered and bruised and over the years he has begun to rot since no one has been looking after him. McCaig says this because the dwarf has been living around the huge cathedral for many years and is now wearing away. McCaig goes on to give more details of the dwarfs appearance: "whose eyes, wept pus, whose back was higher than his head, whose lopsided mouth" All of these properties of the dwarf are very brutal, McCaig says this to make the reader feel pity for the dwarf but surprisingly McCaig goes on to tell how the dwarf had a voice as sweet as a child's: "Said Grazie in a voice as sweet as a child's when she speaks to her mother." ...read more.

Conclusion

This is true but the dwarf has nothing to live for and would most probably want to be dead. I think that these two techniques which were used by McCaig were really useful in describing the scenes he is trying to show the reader of the poem. In stanza 3 McCaig gives the reader the one and only experience of the dwarf's voice, from the way McCaig has vividly described the dwarf you would expect him to have a rough, deep voice but it is not: "Whose lopsided mouth said Grazie in a voice as sweet as a child's when she speaks to her mother or a bird's when it spoke to St. Francis." Once again McCaig bring St. Francis into the poemby comparing one of the bird's voice when it spoke to St. Francis to the dwarf's voice as he says "Grazie". This shows that McCaig is a good writer because he can use so many littery techniques to create a poem of this class. wwgc gcw esgcgcs aygc gcba ngc kcgc gcuk. I have chosen a poem and studied it carefully, identified the littery techniques used. I looked at such ideas as effective figures of speech, choice of words, important images, irony....... I have also showed how the poet has made the social comment: "Where ever there is great wealth it always exists along side great poverty." ...read more.

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