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Sparrow by Norman Maccaig

Categories Bird, Literature, Nature, Poetry, Social Class, Social science, Society, Sociology, Sparrow

Essay, Pages 3 (561 words)

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Essay, Pages 3 (561 words)

“Sparrow” by Norman MacCaig has a strong social issue of the class system and how the classes differ. MacCaig talks about the concern of the class system in relation to survival of to fittest. The poem itself speaks about birds like sparrows and other birds in basic, which are metaphors for individuals. Word choice, sentence structure and enjambment were strong in improving my understanding of the social problem of the class system. MacCaig uses word choice to describe the sparrow and other birds in relation to different kinds of classes within society.

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MacCaig begins by describing the sparrow by saying “He’s no artist”, “a proletarian bird.” implying someone whose only contribution to the state is his offspring and calls the sparrow “dowdy” significance dull clothes with no colour. MacCaig is saying that the sparrow is absolutely nothing special; the sparrow is dull, talentless, dull and colourless. MacCaig continues by saying that he resides in “a slum” and would “rather a punch up in a gutter.

” to gliding over oceans. By this we can presume that the sparrow rough and violent.

Whereas MacCaig describes the other birds as “ballet dancers, musicians, architects” therefore MacCaig is stating that the other birds are gifted and educated which is a complete contrast to his description of the sparrow. MacCaig continues to contrast the sparrow and other birds by specifying in verse 3 about the sparrow that “He carries what learning he has gently … on the effectiveness whose result is survival.” MacCaig is saying here that the sparrow just keeps what information works to his survival.

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Whereas MacCaig then states that the other birds will “pass away in the snow” when winter season starts which the sparrow will endure. MacCaig is commenting that in spite of the other birds different skills it is the dowdy talentless bird that continues to live which the educated gifted birds will pass away due to the fact that their skills and education is not what can get them through tough times. For that reason the poem informs us of what the classes within society are like. MacCaig uses birds as a metaphor of human beings within our societies.

MacCaig is saying that even though the sparrow’s is a basic, unskilled, untalented and uneducated animal he survives hardship. Whereas the other sophisticated and educated birds die in the snow and freeze meaning that there is no need for their talents and education in life. MacCaig uses enjambment to help emphasise the main points that he is making for the readers to better understand the poems central concern. MacCaig does this by for example saying “on the usefulness whose result – is survival” MacCaig places “is survival” on a new line to help the reader to understand that within this sentence the important part is survival.

MacCaig uses sentence structure also to help emphasise the main points that he is making for the readers to better understand the poems central concern. MacCaig does this by for example saying “He’s no artist. ” and “No scholar. ” MacCaig uses these short, blunt sentences to emphasise that the sparrow is unskilled and uneducated. Overall Norman MacCaig use of word choice like “dowdy” his use of sentence structure like “No scholar. ” and finally his use of enjambment were strong in improving my understanding of the social issue of the class system within “Sparrow”

Cite this essay

Sparrow by Norman Maccaig. (2016, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/sparrow-by-norman-maccaig-essay

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