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Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt's Love/Hate Relationship wit Malachy was “ the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father,” giving the . Fred Stoeker, in his book Every Man's Battle, relates the advice his long-time Christian wife gives him. Angela's Ashes Summary and Analysis of Chapters X-XI She wants lemonade to quench her thirst and Frank, now in charge of three boys, Malachy shows up in Limerick to care for the children but returns to England the in the trunk and comes across his parent's marriage certificate; thus he learns his. Struggling with themes such as Religion in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes? A couple of times when he tries to go to confession, he gets kicked out of the church . or even from those Presbyterian-influenced Northern Irish like Malachy, Sr. to forgive himself before God can forgive him, which sounds like good advice.
Malachy gets sober and holds down a job because of the new baby Margaret dies suddenly and the family literally falls apart. Malachy goes out for cigarettes and does not come back for days. Angela goes into a depression, lays in bed for days on end and ignores her other children Frank who is about 4 or 5 years old finally goes to the neighbors for help Eventually, the family moves back to Limerick.
Frank has good memories of the short time he lived in America. Generous neighbors who gave the family food. Shop keepers who secretly gave the family food when Malachy was drinking. A park across the street where he played.
Indoor plumbing and an indoor bathroom The last thing Frank sees as the family leaves America is the Statue of Liberty, "where all the immigrants came in" The purpose of Chapter 2 is to inform the reader about: The IRA has no record of Malachy's military service.
He leaves with no money, but not before asking for enough money to buy a pint. Angela's Family is not happy to see Angela return Angela's mother finds the family a furnished apartment "in the lanes of Limerick" the slums The apartment has a large bed that the entire family shares.
The mattress has fleas, all of the McCourts are bitten and end up throwing the mattress outside and try to drown the fleas. Angela miscarries, her 5th pregnancy but 6th child While Angela is in the hospital, Frank and his family stay with Angela's sister, Aunt Aggie.
She cannot have children and is a mean to the children Her husband, Uncle Pa Keating, however is a generous and happy man Malachy gets one job after another The first week Malachy will bring home all of his paycheck for the family As time goes on however, Malachy "drinks the wages" and eventually loses any job he has Malachy loves to go to the pubs and buy everyone drinks He often returns at night drunk and makes his children sing patriotic IRA songs Emphasize the poverty and misery the family faces the family receives charity from the St.
Vincent DePaul Society and receives money from the dole welfare During chapter 2, the family survives mostly by accepting charity and welfare. Angela must constantly humiliate herself and beg for money and food for the family. More tragedy strikes the family Oliver dies from pnuemonia 6 months later Eugene dies from pnuemonia, as well The entire McCourt Family sleeps in the same bed, so Frank discovers his brothers are dead when he wakes up and their bodies are cold.
Frank is disillusioned about his father On the day of Eugene's funeral, Frank is forced to go looking for his father. Malachy gets money from the Labour Exchange for Eugene funeral, the first thing he does is head to the pubs. Frank finds his father sitting in a pub drinking a pint, resting his glass on Eugene's white coffin As chapter 2 ends Frank states: I hope he's not cold in that white coffin in the graveyard.
I know he's not there anymore because angels come to the graveyard and open the coffin and he's far from the Shannon dampness that kills, up in the sky in heaven with Oliver and Margaret where they have plenty of fish and chips and toffee and no aunts to bother you, where all the fathers bring home the money from the Labour Exchange and you don't have to be running around to pubs to find them" By the end of chapter 2, Angela has had a miscarriage and 3 of her living children have died.
Only Frank and Malachy Jr. Introduction In Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt tells the story of his impoverished childhood and adolescence in Limerick, Ireland, during the s and s. Written from the point of view of the young boy, it is a long catalogue of deprivation and hardship: The story takes place in a highly religious society in which the dogmas of Roman Catholicism are accepted without question.
In addition to Catholicism, the people of Limerick exhibit a narrow provincialism, in which Protestants and anyone who comes from the north of Ireland are despised, and an Irish nationalism that is fueled by hatred of the English. And yet the effect of the story, although often poignant and sad, is not depressing.
The young narrator describes the events without bitterness, anger, or blame. Poverty and hardship are treated simply as if they are a fact of life, like the weather. And in spite of the hard circumstances, many episodes are hilarious. The combination of childhood innocence, riotous humor, and descriptions of a degree of poverty beyond anything that contemporary readers in the West could imagine made Angela's Ashes a huge commercial success.
It is regarded as an outstanding contribution to the growing popularity of the genre of the memoir. He was the first of seven children born to Malachy and Angela McCourt. When he was four, his sister Margaret died.
In that same year, the family decided to leave New York and return to their native Ireland. They settled in Limerick in southwest Ireland. In Limerick during the s, the McCourt family was desperately poor. Malachy McCourt was an alcoholic and was frequently unemployed. McCourt's twin brothers both died of pneumonia, probably due to the unhealthy living conditions. McCourt spent three months in the hospital with typhoid fever when he was ten. In the early s, during World War IIMcCourt's father went to England to work in a munitions factory in Coventry, but he never sent any money back to his family.
By the age of eleven, McCourt was the family breadwinner. Several years later he quit school and got a job delivering telegrams. He eventually managed to save enough money to leave Ireland for the United States. He was eventually fired from the Biltmore and took a series of menial jobs. After military service, he attended New York University under the G.
Bill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English. He later earned a master's degree in English at Brooklyn College. For the last fifteen of those years, he taught English and creative writing at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, which was noted for the high quality of its students and where he was known as a popular teacher. McCourt retired in Inhe began writing a memoir of his life in Ireland, Angela's Ashes, which was published in by Scribner.
The book was a huge success and won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. InMcCourt published 'Tis, a memoir that took up the story of his life where Angela's Ashes left off. McCourt is married to his third wife, Ellen Frey, a publicist whom he married in They live in New York City. There he married Angela Sheehan from Limerick. Within a few years, Angela gave birth to five children, one of whom died in infancy. Life is hard in Brooklyn, and relatives arrange for the McCourts to return to Ireland and settle in Limerick.
In their one-room dwelling, the entire family sleeps in one flea-infested bed. Frank's father, who is an alcoholic, goes on the dole. Angela accepts charity from the St. Vincent de Paul Society, but her family is miserably poor. Both twins die of pneumonia.
Frank's father tells him the baby was brought by the Angel on the Seventh Step. Sometimes Frank sits on the seventh step of the staircase in case the angel visits. Malachy gets a job in a cement factory, but on payday he spends all his money in the pub. Frank is washed and scrubbed and dressed in a new suit for his First Communion. Afterwards, Grandma makes him a special breakfast, which, to Grandma's dismay, he vomits up. His day ends with a trip to the cinema.
Chapters 5 and 6 Frank gets into trouble with Grandma when, instead of taking dinner to the lodger, he eats it himself. In a prank, Frank's brother Malachy puts his father's false teeth in his own mouth and cannot get them out, resulting in a trip to the hospital.
Frank takes dance lessons but soon skips them in favor of the cinema. He reluctantly joins the Arch Confraternity and becomes an altar boy. At school the masters are bullies.
With his friend Paddy Clohessy, Frank visits the home of their classmate Fintan Slattery, after which they steal apples from an orchard and drink milk directly from a cow's udder. Chapters 7 and 8 Frank earns money by helping Uncle Pat deliver newspapers.
Timoney, an old man with poor eyesight, who pays Frank to read to him. Angela gives birth to another baby boy, Alphie. A classmate offers to let Frank and his friends climb the drainpipe at his house to see his sisters taking their bath. The adventure is a fiasco and they are caught. Frank catches typhoid fever and spends three months in the hospital. He talks to a young girl, Patricia Morgan, who later dies.
Frank is punished for talking to her, which is against the hospital rules, by being moved to an empty ward. A cleaner named Seamus befriends him. Chapters 9 and 10 Frank's father gets a job in a munitions factory in England but sends no money home.
Frank has conjunctivitis and spends another month in the hospital. Angela is forced to seek public assistance and is humiliated by the men who dispense it. Then she gets pneumonia, and the boys are sent to live with Aunt Aggie and Uncle Pa. Aggie is cruel to them. When Angela returns from hospital, she is forced to beg for food at the priest's home.
Angela's Ashes: Essay Q&A
Chapters 11 and 12 Eleven-year-old Frank gets a job helping his neighbor John Hannon deliver coal. His friends envy him, but the coal dust hurts his weak eyes.
Frank's father returns for Christmas but brings no money. After his departure, the family is threatened with eviction for nonpayment of rent. They burn some loose wood from one of the walls of the rooms for heat. Frank hacks at one of the beams while his mother is out and the ceiling falls in. They are evicted and go to live with Angela's cousin Laman Griffin. Chapters 13 and 14 At thirteen, Frank excels in school. His mother wants him to continue his education, but he is turned away from the Christian Brothers school.
Laman comes home drunk and punches Frank, bruising his face. Frank goes to stay with his uncle Pat and quits school. Chapters 15 and 16 Frank works as a telegram boy and meets Theresa Carmody, a girl who is dying of consumption. Within a short while, Theresa dies and Frank is heartbroken. Frank delivers a telegram to Mr. Harrington, who complains untruthfully to Frank's employers that Frank stole whiskey and food. A priest intervenes to save Frank's job, but Frank decides to quit anyway and takes a job distributing newspapers.
He has a second job writing letters for Mrs. Chapters 17 and 18 Uncle Pa takes Frank for his first beer in a pub. He gets drunk and after going home hits his mother. A compassionate priest hears his confession.
Frank works all winter at his new job and dreams of immigrating to America. Finally he saves enough money to buy a ticket and sail to New York. Benson is a master at Leamy's National School. Fierce and short-tempered, he browbeats the boys and hits them with his stick. As Frank puts it, "He roars and spits all over us all day. Theresa has red hair and green eyes; she is dying of consumption. She and Frank make love several times, but she dies within weeks. Paddy Clohessy Paddy Clohessy is Frank's friend when they are seven years old.
Paddy has six brothers and one sister, and the family is extremely poor. He goes to school barefoot, dressed in rags. In one incident, he and Frank rob an orchard and drink milk directly from a cow. Later, Paddy moves to England and works in a pub. Declan Collopy Declan Collopy is four years older than Frank. According to Frank, "He has lumps on his forehead that look like horns. He has thick ginger eyebrows that meet in the middle and hang over his eyes, and his arms hang down to his kneecaps.
He is five years older than Frank. Frank says of his appearance, "His red hair sticks up in all directions. He has green eyes and one rolls around in his head so much he's constantly tapping his temple to keep it where it's supposed to be. He dies of consumption. Finucane employs Frank to write threatening letters to people who owe her money. She is a large, intimidating woman who helps to arrange for the McCourt family to leave Brooklyn and return to Ireland.
Like Philomena, she is large, "great breasted and fierce. Grandma Grandma is Angela's mother and Frank's grandmother. She has "white hair and sour eyes" and is known for her religious devotion. She does her best to help the McCourts but spends much of her time complaining.
She dies of pneumonia when Frank is thirteen. Laman Griffin Laman Griffin is Angela's cousin. She and her sons go to live at his house after their own is destroyed.
He spends much time in bed reading and smoking, and he and Angela become lovers. Sometimes he gets drunk, and in one incident he becomes angry with Frank and beats him up. She is unmarried and lives with her mother and father. She smokes a lot and chats with Angela by the fire for long periods. He makes a living from delivering coal, but his legs are diseased, and he has trouble continuing to work.
Frank gets a job helping him. Media Adaptations Angela's Ashes has been recorded on audiotape, read by McCourt, in abridged and unabridged versions published by Simon and Schuster. Harrington is an Englishman whose wife has just died. He gets angry with Frank when the boy delivers a telegram, and he tries to get Frank fired from his job. Aunt Aggie Keating Aggie is Frank's aunt.
She is large and has flaming red hair; she works in a clothing factory. Unable to have children of her own, she is jealous of her sister Angela. When the McCourt boys stay at her house, she is abusive, calling Frank "scabby eyes. His skin is black from shoveling coal into the furnaces at the Limerick Gas Works. He is a veteran of World War Iin which he was a victim of poison gas. He has a fine sense of humor, and Frank finds him amusing. Formerly Angela Sheehan, she grew up with her three siblings in a Limerick slum.
She never knew her father, who deserted the family before she was born. When she becomes pregnant, they marry, but it is not a happy partnership. Angela's husband is a feckless drunkard. She loses three of her seven children in infancy, and she has to feed and clothe her family in desperately poor conditions. Throughout these ordeals, Angela shows toughness and an ability to endure the blows of fate, although she frequently complains about her misfortunes.
He dies of pneumonia at age two. He is raised in poverty, but this does not diminish his good spirits since he has never known life to be any different. When his twin brothers die in infancy, he is too young to understand what has happened. Attending Leamy's National School, he makes friends easily and gets involved in a number of schoolboy pranks, but he is also mocked by the other boys for his clumsily repaired shoes, which reveal his poverty.
The boys make up contemptuous jingles about him. Frank also has health problems; he catches typhoid fever and nearly dies, and later he develops severe conjunctivitis. Despite these setbacks, he excels at school. On the advice of the headmaster, Frank's mother tries to have Frank enrolled in the Christrian Brothers School in order to continue his education, but he is turned down; there are few educational opportunities for a boy from the "lanes," the slum districts of Limerick.
Frank is not disappointed because he wants to leave school and earn money. He is immensely proud of himself when he gets some odd jobs and brings home money for his mother. As Frank enters adolescence, he has a first love affair with a dying girl, and he learns more of the tragedies of his world when he sees his mother begging for food and also observes the pitiful condition of some of the people he encounters in his job delivering telegrams.
Finally, he saves enough money to fulfill his long-held dream of emigrating to America. Then he became a fugitive and made his way to New York, where he married Angela Sheehan.
Malachy has a weakness for drink and cannot hold a job for more than a few weeks. When unemployed, Malachy often spends his dole money at the pub, coming home late singing patriotic Irish songs. Malachy is fond of his children, however, and entertains them with colorful stories that he makes up on the spot. He tells them they must be prepared to die for Ireland.
Eventually, Malachy departs for England to work in a factory during World War IIbut he sends no money back to his family. He returns briefly one Christmas, promising presents for everyone, but when his wife opens the box of chocolates he brings, she finds that he has eaten half of them himself. Malachy is the first brother to leave home.
He enrolls in the Army School of Music and moves to Dublin. He gives that up and gets various jobs in England: He wants to follow Frank to America. At age six he shows a compassionate nature, bringing home stray dogs and homeless old men.
Kita, Stacey / Angela's Ashes
He has epileptic fits and is known as Malloy the Fit. He is two years older than Frank and is known as "the expert in the lane on Girls' Bodies and Dirty Things in General. She is sometimes so demented with worry over how she is going to feed her family that she is admitted to the lunatic asylum. He is a champion beer drinker, and he sometimes drinks away his dole money. According to Frank, Peter "doesn't give a fiddler's fart about what the world says. O'Dea is a master at Frank's school. He is especially good at hurting and shaming the boys.
O'Halloran is the headmaster of Leamy's National School. The boys call him Hoppy because he has a short leg and hops when he walks. He is the hardest master in the school because he makes the boys learn everything by heart. O'Neill is a master at Frank's school. He is called Dotty by the boys because he is small, like a dot. He loves Euclidean geometry and teaches it even when he is not supposed to.
Brendan Quigley Brendan Quigley is a classmate of Frank's. He is always asking questions, so he's known as Question Quigley. He befriends Frank and brings him books to read. He was dropped on his head when he was a baby and, as a result, is simple-minded. He is also called Ab, short for The Abbot. He is illiterate but makes a living selling newspapers. Fintan Slattery Fintan Slattery is a classmate of Frank's. He and his mother are very pious Catholics.
He says he wants to be a saint when he grows up. Timony is an old man with poor eyesight who pays Frank to read to him. He claims to be a Buddhist.
Themes Poverty The theme of poverty is pervasive. In Limerick, poverty is accepted as a fact of life; although there is a charitable society and a rudimentary system of public assistance, neither does much to lift the poor out of their misery. For the McCourts, the dole money is never sufficient.
When they first settle in Limerick, Malachy receives a mere nineteen shillings a week, for a family of six. The family often goes hungry.
Not only is food scarce; living conditions are appalling. The McCourts must deal with fleas, rats, flies, and lice. There is only one lavatory for the whole lane of eleven families, and it is directly outside their door. In summer the stench is unbearable. Malnutrition and bad living conditions are probably responsible for the deaths of the twin boys. The children often have to dress in rags. At Leamy's School, six or seven boys go barefoot.
Frank's shoes are falling to pieces, which leads to a comical episode in which his father, after being told by his wife that he is useless, attempts to repair the shoes using on old bicycle tire. The family's poverty worsens when Frank's father goes to work in England but fails to send any money home.
The children sleep on piles of rags. The downward cycle reaches its lowest point when Angela is forced to beg for food at the door of the priest's house, an incident that makes clear the link between poverty and humiliation. Alcoholism Limerick is a town that is damp, not only from the incessant rain; it is also awash in alcohol. The evenings that the men spend at the pub drinking pints of beer—usually referred to as stout or porter—as well as whiskey, are almost like religious rituals.
These evenings give the men a chance to enjoy male camaraderie and forget the hardness of their lives as well as their wives. The worship of beer is quickly passed from man to boy. When Frank is about six, he accompanies his father to a pub, and his uncle Pa Keating explains to him, "Frankie, this is the pint. This is the staff of life. This is the best thing for nursing mothers and for those who are long weaned.
Beer drinking is also a competitive activity in Limerick.
Pa Keating boasts that he is the champion pint-drinker. He wins bets by drinking more than anyone else, a feat he accomplishes by making himself vomit in the restroom, which enables him to go back to the bar and drink more beer. His son Mikey longs to emulate him. The destructive effects of alcohol are apparent in Frank's father, the stereotypical Irish drunk.
He ruins his life, and the lives of his family, by his addiction. Another character whose drinking causes suffering for others is Angela's cousin Laman Griffin, who beats Frank up one night in a drunken rage. After his first two pints on his sixteenth birthday, Frank himself argues with his mother and hits her. Why do some Irish feel such bitterness toward their larger neighbor? Why has the conflict in Northern Ireland been so difficult to end? Discuss the different kinds of relief available for the poor in the Limerick of McCourt's youth.
How does that assistance differ from the help that is available to the poor in America today? Investigate the topic of alcoholism. Is it on the increase? Why do some people who drink alcohol become alcoholics but others do not?
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