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Angela's Ashes - A Depressing Irish Catholic Childhood

Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jun 05, 2005

One may look back on their childhood to remember the once joyful and free-spirited moments of life. This is not, however, true in Frank McCourt's case. When reviewing his childhood, all that comes to mind is devastation, death and poverty that followed the lives of so many families in the time period. Through his autobiography, Angela's Ashes, McCourt depicts the depressing Irish Catholic childhood he woke up to face each morning.

Born in New York in the 1930's into the house of a miserable cigarette-addicted mother, Angela, and an alcoholic father, Malachy, who spends most of the money he earns on buying pints at the local bar, Frank McCourt is immediately given much to deal with. Being the oldest of seven children in his family, Frank has much more responsibility then the average child today has ever experienced. Frank's father figure returns home each night completely drunk singing songs of Irish patriotism while abusing and shouting at his family, providing no example for his sons to look up to. His father's behavior changes for a brief period of time when Frank's mother gives birth to a young girl, Margaret. His father stops drinking and begins working for the good of the family, however, it isn't long before this "tiny angel" passes away, destroying all hope of the family's success. Never again would Frank's father show such devotion to saving his family. The devastating loss of their only daughter made if unbearable for the family to stay in America with complete memory of the child. The McCourts move to Ireland, which Frank later admits was the worst decision they could have made at that time.

Reaching Ireland with not a cent, the McCourts first find shelter with their father's relatives then their mother's siblings until finally they could settle under a roof of their own in Limerick. Frank and his brother, Malachy, are sent to a strict Catholic school while his father finds a job to support the family. Their conditions, however, do not improve and it is not long before their father looses his job and two of Frank's youngest brothers become ill and pass away. There seems to be no hope of a better future for the McCourts in these new surroundings. The family is soon forced to beg neighbors and churches near by for food or money. They grow weak and desperate with what seems to be a...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   06/05/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (865 words)

Views:   9991

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