The Noble Bishop

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The Bishop’s Candlesticks is a play based on Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. In this dramatic piece, Norman McKinnel focuses much on the change that the convict, Jean Val Jean, undergoes.The Bishop was a very noble person. He was always ready to help anyone in distress. The doors of his house were always open.

About the Author

Norman McKinnel (10 February 1870 – 29 March 1932) was a Scottish stage and film actor and playwright, active from the 1890s until his death. He appeared in many stage roles in the UK and overseas as well as featuring in a number of films, the best known of which is Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 production Downhill. His surname was sometimes mistranscribed as McKinnell.

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Concept Map

Summary of the Prose

Norman McKinnel in his play presents a very kind hearted bishop and his self sacrificial nature. Bishop is not rich but shows generosity to all. He has donated everything except Candlesticks gifted by his dying mother.The bishop’s sister Persome was like his mother, though she was younger. She complained that the simplicity and nobility of the bishop was being misused by the people. In her opinion, he was often cheated and taken undue advantage of. Mere Gringoire, the old woman who lived on the top of the hill and did no work made such a fool of the bishop by making him sell his silver salt cellars to pay her rent.One day, past midnight a convict enters the bishop’s house and asks for food at the point of his knife. The convict is rude, hard hearted, rough and suspicious and full of fear. The bishop treats him with kindness and provides him food and shelter.The convict is tempted to steal the bishops silver candlesticks. But he gets caught and is arrested and brought before the bishop. This candlestick was very dear to the bishop as it was the parting gift presented to him by his mother. But the bishop called the convict his friend. Later he gives the candlesticks to the convict, blesses him and tells him a secret way to Paris. The convict is deeply touched and filled with remorse.The bishop succeeds in reforming the hardened convict and tells him that the human heart is the abode of God.Bishop’s candle sticks is a very touching play. It depicts the true meaning of clergy. Unlike our present age, when one reads about very face of clergy, then this play may provide light to many readers.

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Text of the Prose

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Transacting the text

The play dramatically depicts how the love and the compassion of the Bishop brought about a change of heart in a convict and turned him into a man of promise for a good life. The Bishop was a kind-hearted man who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ in the true spirit. Besides being a true Christian he was also an ardent humanist. He was ready to sacrifice everything to help the needy people. Even after selling all, he had, for others, he felt sorry that he could do so little whereas the world had so much suffering. He sold his saltcellars and gave the money to Mere Gringoire so that the latter might pay his rent to the bailiff. His sister. Persome was how ever a worldly woman, neither as self-less as her brother nor so noble. She did not like her brother to live for others and not for himself. She thought that people took an unfair advantage of his charitable nature. But the Bishop thought that if the people pretended to be in distressed and deceived him, then they are the poorer in spirit and not he. His door was never shut and it was opened for everybody.

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Meaning making

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Language skills


Grammar usage


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