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'Assisi' - Norman MacCaig

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When we come across deformed people we tend to stop and stare at their ugliness but the poem 'Assisi' by Norman MacCaig shows hypocrisy and shows us that you shouldn't only look at the outside of people and things but you should look onside as most things are the opposite on the inside. In my essay I shall write about the shock techniques and figures of speech used in the poem which made 'Assisi' stick in my mind. The first writing technique I'm going to study is the contrasts and opposites. The main contrast is "The dwarf with his hands on backwards sat, Slumped like a half filled sack." Compared to "the three tiers of churches" Which he sat outside. This is a good contrast as the poem talks about how beautifully decorated the church is and the dwarf is so ugly and deformed that he emphasizes the beauty of the church. ...read more.


The next technique I'm going to study is the hypocrisy. In the poem it explains how the church was "built in honour of St Francis, brother of the poor, talker with birds," St Francis gave up every thing he had to help the poor but after he died the church spent thousands of pounds building a church in honor of him instead of spending money on schools, hostels, hospitals and homes. I think that if St Francis was still alive he would be horrified to see a poor dwarf sitting on the steps, not being allowed into a church that was built for the poor. Another technique I noticed Norman MacCaig used was extended metaphors. The first one I noticed was "The dwarf with his hands on backwards sat, slumped like a half-filled sack on tiny twisted legs from which sawdust might run," This compares the dwarf to two things the first ...read more.


A further technique Norman MacCaig uses is shocking the reader. The parts of the poem which most shocked me were mainly the parts describing the dwarf. "with his hands on backwards" this revolts the reader and also makes them feel sorry for the dwarf. "whose eyes wept pus, whose back was higher than his head," I feel this is a good description as now the reader has an even clearer picture of how ugly and deformed the dwarf looked. It was these clear descriptions that made the poem memorable for me. In this essay I have shown why my chosen poem, 'Assisi' by Norman MacCaig was memorable for as it is very honest and up front and made me aware of issues I didn't know existed. I had also never thought that a church would go against what it was built for. ...read more.

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