In this essay I will be discussing the techniques used by Norman MacCaig in his poem Assisi and how they get across the idea of people treat others in certain ways and how this creates sympathy for a beggar sitting in front of a great church.
The poem starts by drawing your attention to the “dwarf” who is described as something that is not human and more puppet like than anything else. By calling him a dwarf it makes it clear he is seen as not normal. You are given a description of the figure, which I feel is meant to disturb you, with the repulsive description. The dwarf is described as having “hands on backwards” and “like a half filled sack”. In the second line the alliteration of the letter ‘s’ gives of a short sharp distaste sound. Also words that start with the letter ‘t’ are used next to each other. “Tiny twisted” which makes a tut sound which is alliterate and harsh sounding.
On the third forth line it begins to describe the juxtaposition of the expensive church where the beggar to highlight the difference. It begins with the word “Outside” to emphasize where he is, as he should be inside the church, not outside. The focus swifts further along the line from the beggar to the church as the poet begins to describe the church. It’s a direct contrast as first it’s the beggar being described as awful looking and disgusting. Then saying, “the three tiers of churched” which is to show beautiful and magnificent the building he is sitting outside of is. Another contrast appears as the church was built in honour of St Francis who is described as “brother of the poor”. But the church in his name is not helping the homeless poor beggar sitting right outside the building.
The last two lines are saying how the beggar had no advantages over St Francis. The only advantage he had was of him “not being dead yet.” This shows he is lucky to be alive but had nothing else going for him.