francis_final - Yuk Gee POON HIS121B Spoto Assignment...

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HIS121B Spoto Assignment Historian Donald Spoto infuses his biography of Francis of Assisi, A Reluctant Saint with the context of the multifaceted ecclesiastical, political and social forces of medieval Italy. The author attempts to present a humanistic Francis who encountered constant frustration and hardships many others faced. This well-rounded representation of Francis’s life takes us away from our traditional one-sided view on saints being high-on-the-cloud characters, to comprehensively understand the lifelong process of Francis’s conversion. However well-written the biography is, readers should realize that the devout Roman Catholic author is bound to write in a way that is biased in favor of the saint. Spoto’s faith possibly interferes with his analysis of Francis’s epiphany at the church of San Damiano in Chapter 4. Spoto never speculates the validity of the incident even though at least one aspect of the story clearly raise suspicion: the fact that the church was empty and the lack of witness during the epiphany. Francis could have lied about “the image of Christ crucified [in the church] spoke to him” (Spoto 44) about rebuilding the church. No one knows if Francis indeed went to the church, and even if he did, we do not know if the epiphany ever took place. Francis had reasonable motives to lie about the epiphany since he was “unable to envision either a bright future or a chance at either knighthood or nobility” (Spoto 44). Francis could not be a knight because he was sick in the crusade on the way to Constantinople and Jerusalem, and was asked to return home. He could not be a noble either, as he was not born in a noble family and “there was no woman in his life at all, and certainly none he intended to marry. (Spoto 43)” There was no chance of him archiving noble status by marriage to a noblewoman. 1
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francis_final - Yuk Gee POON HIS121B Spoto Assignment...

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