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Assisi - notes National 5 English Mrs Woods. Poem Structure  Verse 1 – The dwarf  Verse 2 – The priest  Verse 3 – The tourists – and back to the dwarf.

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Presentation on theme: "Assisi - notes National 5 English Mrs Woods. Poem Structure  Verse 1 – The dwarf  Verse 2 – The priest  Verse 3 – The tourists – and back to the dwarf."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assisi - notes National 5 English Mrs Woods

2 Poem Structure  Verse 1 – The dwarf  Verse 2 – The priest  Verse 3 – The tourists – and back to the dwarf.  The poem begins and ends with the dwarf.  This is an example of an effective conclusion when an article goes full circle.

3 Background  On a holiday to Assisi the poet Norman MacCaig goes on a guided tour of the church dedicated to St Francis of Assisi.  On that tour he is struck by the contrast between the beauty of the church building and the miserable situation of a dwarf who is begging from the tourists.

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5 Three tiers of churches

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7 The basilica of St Francis

8 An example of a frescoe (wall painting)

9 The poem’s main point  MacCaig wonders why the priest is looking after the needs of the tourists and is ignoring the needs of the dwarf.  He realises that the spirit of St Francis is not found inside the church, or in the priest but in the inner beauty of the dwarf.

10 Themes  Hypocrisy  Religion  Man’s inner nature  Inward nature versus outward appearance

11 Verse 1 – the dwarf The dwarf with his hands on backwards Sat, slumped like a half filled sack On tiny twisted legs from which sawdust might run

12 Sat slumped like half filled sack  Alliteration of the letter s  Sounds like something deflating  Draws attention to the simile of the dwarf collapsed ‘like a half filled sack’  The idea of collapsing is extended in the expression ‘from which sawdust might run.’

13 Verse 2 – the priest

14 Verse 2 – The Priest  Explaining to tourists how the artist Giotto told the story of the goodness of God through frescoes  “I understood the explanation and the cleverness”

15 “cleverness”  Giotto was clever in the way he designed the frescoes  The priest was clever in his commercialisation of the church

16 An extended metaphor  MacCaig uses the image of hens  “a rush of tourists clucking contentedly” (alliteration of letter c helps you to hear the noise they make)  “Fluttered” suggests they are lightweight, not thinking much  “scattered the grain of the word” – the grain is now for the tourist, not the poor as St Francis would have wanted

17 The tourists

18 Back to the dwarf  Outwardly revolting  “ruined temple”  “eyes wept pus”  “back higher than his head”  “lopside mouth”

19 The dwarf  But inwardly beautiful  “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”  The spirit of St Francis does not lie in the church building, or in the priest, but in the dwarf.

20 St Francis “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”


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