A happy life could have been because of the existence of luxury and riches around you. It could also be because you are contented with the way your life goes and you feel so much lucky with all your blessings but, it is not that easy all the time. Some would need to suffer first before finding that happiness and some would need to undergo pain and hunger before coming to the point of satisfaction. The novel Angela’s Ashes (1996) by Frank McCourt depicts a life of poverty and tells a story of a little boy’s dream of surpassing his family’s miserable state. In this narrative, Frank as a child experienced a not so typical childhood.
Having to experience the death of his three other siblings, a drunkard father and a life full of hunger, it is not a normal kind of life for a child. His was a story of pain and fate that embraced his younger years up to his teenage days. It was not an easy life for a 10 year old boy who was supposed to be playing and having fun. This novel also talks about Franks religious life and his fear in committing mistakes. His ideals and his dreams were tackled in this novel and how he will be able to achieve these things despite all the hardships and the poverty he was facing.
Your Name 2 Frank McCourt was the eldest son of Angela and Malachy McCourt. He was born in America and was followed by Malachy Jr. and the twins Oliver and Eugene. The family moved back to Limerick after the death of baby Margaret. As the family went back to Limerick, their grief was only added by the consecutive death of Oliver and Eugene. Two weeks before Christmas, Angela together with Frank went to a butcher and asked for a meat. What they had was the pig's head and Frank's classmate were laughing at him as he carries the meat while Malachy is very disgusted upon seeing them.
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On Christmas morning, Frank and Malachy Jr. attended the mass with their father and later on collected for coal so that their mother can cook the pig's head. Again, Angela gave birth to another boy named Michael and whom Frank calls as the “angel on the seventh step”. This baby got ill but Malachy was able to save him by sucking the mucus out of his nose. Malachy found a job but on pay day, he got drunk again and missed his job the following day and got fired. Frank had his first communion but he missed the collection which was according to Mikey was the best thing in having to take the first communion.
He was told by his mother to attend a dance class but little did Angel know, he wasn't really attending the class. Instead, he goes to the movies with Billy. When his mother and father learned about this, they confront Frank and told him to confess his sins to the priest. Your Name 3 Malachy wants Frank to be an Altar boy but they were refused when they asked about it. After few more years, Malachy continues to drink away the dole money while Angela gave birth to another boy who was named Alphonsus. Frank at this part of the story has a job already as he was instructed by Grandma.
Frank is on his 10th year and was preparing for his confirmation and after being confirmed, he had a nosebleed and was rushed to the hospital and found out that he has a typhoid fever. He was confined and there he learned more about Shakespeare and read books most of the time. He had a friend named Patricia and Seamus who shared to him the books and Seamus was the one who recited the “Highway Man”. Almost all families in Limerick were getting richer because their father goes in the war to have work and sens money back home.
Malachy left home and go in the war to find a job and Angela was overwhelmed thinking that he will send money and she can buy a new coat and boots for the kids. Unfortunately, there was no money from Malachy again. Malachy did not send any money to his family. On Chapter 10 of the book, Angela got sick of pneumonia. Frank wrote to Malachy and his father went home to take care of the kids but also left the following day when Angela was released from the hospital. Because Malachy was not able to send his paycheck, Angela was forced to appeal to the Dispensary for money.
The author felt bad when he saw his mother begging outside the church. Your Name 4 Because the family owes the owner of the house with 4 months rent and they don't have money, the kids burned a wall and the owner found out and they were asked to leave. The family stayed in the house of Laman Griffin, Angela's cousin but he treats them bad and soon, Malachy left Limerick to go to the Army School of Music while Frank worked on a post office. He stayed with Ab Sheehan and during his work hours as a mail man, he met Theresa and they had an affair.
Later on the story, she died of consumption and Frank worked for Brigid Funicane where he sends a threat letter to her debtors and when she died, he stole her money and throw the ledger in the river. He then made his plans in leaving Limerick for America. Angela's Ashes is an autobiography of a child from Limerick who tells his story of suffering and agony during his younger years. This novel also tackles how his family, the McCourts grew up in a place where poverty is such a disease and that living in a house infested with fleas and rats is such a common thing.
This novel shows many aspects of inequality. Opening the pages of the book and reading each words composing a line, phrase and slowly becoming a sentence, Frank McCourt successfully described his childhood which is full of suffering and poverty. His life together with his family in Limerick shows a side of poverty in that place that was never known to people and the whole world. With this autobiography, he stated the real situation during those years in Ireland, therefore, making the whole biography more emotional and interesting.
Your Name 5 Talking about the family's suffering, one definite example is Margaret's who brought joy to the family and the reason why for a while, Malachy stopped from drinking and focused in taking care of his family especially taking good care of Margaret but aside from this, the death of the twins also caused suffering to the family and most of all, Malachy's vice caused most of their misery. His hobby to drink away his wage brought hunger to the family that Angela was forced to beg in order for them to have something to eat.
As the mother, she decided to do something so that there will be no dead anymore and that the kids will not be in hunger but she must admit it that all she can give to the kids is a simple life, still bounded by poverty. Aside from suffering, the main theme of the novel is poverty. Frank McCourt showed in his narrative the state of their life including their neighbors. He mentioned certain things that the people do to survive. The best example for this one is Nora whose husband was like Malachy, drinks his wage away that most of the time, it resulted to Nora's psychological problems that she has to be taken to an asylum.
Frank said that he really doesn't know if at some point, maybe Nora finds peace in the asylum that is why she choose to be brought there. ` Citing evidences from the novel regarding poverty is easy. Angela begs for food, Frank and Malachy Jr. steals so that they will have something to eat. They live in a slum and their family so does the neighbors share the same toilet. They ask for coal to the rich families in their neighborhood and they were told to live the house they were living in because they can't pay. Your Name 6 The life of the McCourt kids is very unusual.
It is not everyday that a little kid starves to death or maybe sleeps in hunger. In their case, it is natural, a common thing and it is usual. Because of the strong poverty that they had, Angela had to beg while the kids need to steal so that they can eat and somehow fill their stomach. It is really a bad thing to do but in their situation, it seems like it is a noble thing to be done. Like Robin Hood who steals from the rich people and gives it to the poor ones, Frank has no other way but to do the same thing or watch his family slowly die, one by one.
He has to be sure that they have something to eat even if its not fish and chips. What matters to young frank was to have something that can fill their hungry stomachs and make them live another day. Remember a part in the novel wherein Michael asked what's for dinner and he wished that they have fish and chips while Angela as a mother said next week they'll eat fish together with chips, Frank knows it is impossible because life in poverty is worse and asking money from others including the dispensary is even worse.
That is how their life goes as they experience poverty in Ireland wherein during those times, it was a disease, an itch of the society. It is already a disease of the society. People oftentimes neglect those who are needing assistance but in the end, what helped this family is their strong will to survive and overcome every struggle, in the end, maybe it was because of Frank’s prayers that helped him.
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Angela`s Ashes Critique Essay. (2017, May 15). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/angelas-ashes-114981/