Angela’s Ashes

Ch. 1- to what genre does this story belong?
Ch.1- why did Frank believe that the misery of his own childhood was worse than the other miserable childhoods?
Because of poverty, alcoholic dad, defeated mom, bullying schoolmasters, pompous priest (sister Margaret is dead)
Ch.1- explain the power River Shannon held over the Limerick inhabitants and the humorous role it indirectly played with the church.
Created cacophony of hacking coughs, bronchial rattles, asthmatic wheezes, lungs into bacterial sponges, provoked cores
Humorous role of church: the river drove people into the church-being only dry place, was their strength, refuge
Ch.1- Why did Malachy emigrate from Ireland to the United States?
Malachy emigrated from Ireland to the US because it was the “Price of have being dropped on his head”
Ch.1-What unusual circumstances surrounded Angela’s birth? Describe Angela’s mother.
It was New Years and the nurse was rushing the mom to hurry w/ labor so she could go celebrate. Angela’s mom prayed all different prayers. Said the “Angelus” prayer after the bell rung
Ch.1-What humorous role did the MacNamara sisters play in Angela and Frank’s courtship
They talked to Malachy and basically forced him into marrying Angela
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Ch.1-What is the story of Cuchulain and what is its significance?
Boy who: grew up in Ireland, country: Antrim, had a stick & ball that went into a big dog’s mouth and choked him. Owner was mad, offered to guard house & change name. (Irish folklore “house of cuckolaine”
Ch.1-Why does Mam sometimes sing romantic songs?
She’s happy because Malachy brings home his wages (has a job) & they have money to buy food & support their lives
Ch.1- What is the significance of Malachy’s songs? How does it contrast with Mam’s attitude?
They all are patriotic and he always sings it when he is drunk sings when she is happy (Mam), sings when he’s drunk(dad-Malachy)
Ch.1- Update the family tree…how many children and their names.
Francis, Malachy, Malachy Jr., Oliver, Euguene, Margaret, Angela, Pat, Aunt Aggie, & Gram (so the McCourts & the Sheehans)
Ch.1- What does Frankie do to feed the twins?
Water & Sugar, stealing bananas from Italian Grocery store, the owner gave them fruit; he made bread & goodies, etc.
Ch. 1- What does the grocer mean when he says “the problem, the Irish thing.”
Frank’s dad has a bad manner bc he is Irish (prejudice)
Ch.1-Cite references of generosity and kindness from their neighbors.
Gives them food, takes care of them, tells them to get into house when it is cold, forgives Frank for beating their son. Boir owner gives Frankie milk.
Ch.1-What happens to Frankie’s parents after Margaret dies?
Angela is shocked & Neglect the kids. She lies on her bed w/ her face to wall
& refuses to get up. She cries out a lot. His fat her goes out for a cigarette & drink.
Ch.2- Where do the McCourts go when they get to Ireland. what kind of welcome do they receive?
Grandpa McCourt’s house. McCourt relatives tells the new arrivals that things are getting worse in Ireland & that they can’t stay w/ Malachy’s parents. Relatives aren’t happy to see them
Ch.2- The children marvel over many things upon their arrival. What are some of the things they have never seen before?
“strange creatures in the field” (cows, sheep’s, goats, etc). They’ve lived in the city their whole loves. The boys don’t know what a priest is; not used to lifestyle.
Ch.2- How does McCourt use onomatopoeia to capture the sensory impressions he had as a child?
Tells sounds as if how they seemed to him as a boy. (ex: “Mam snores hink; Dad snores honk; cows mooed”)
Ch.2- Where do Malachy’s parents tell them to go?
Dublin in the “Irish Free State”
Ch.2- What clue do the children pick up on that their Mam is in a good mood upon their Dublin arrival?
She calls their dad “Pop”
Ch.2- Where do they spend their 1st night in Dublin? Where do they go next?
A policeman allows them to sleep on the floor of the police barracks. Limerick.
Ch.2- What incident occurs letting Grandma know they have not been practicing Catholicism?
they did not know about Jesus
Ch.2- What are grandma’s feelings about cigarettes?
“them fags will be the death of you”; knows that it weakens lungs & makes it as a luxury- inappropriate for the poor who can’t feed their families. “There’s enough consumption in Limerick w/out people smoking fags on top of it an ’tis a rich man’s foolishness”.
Ch.2- Describe their 1st experience with fleas and the theory behind their presence.
Theory behind it was that the English brought it here to make/drive Ireland man (the Irish).
Ch.2- What type of prejudices does the McCourt family encounter when they try to find means to support themselves?
Dad has trouble finding a job because Limerick doesn’t want to hire a man with a northern Irish accent. Mam gets resentment when applying for charity because she had an American coat & children with American accents.
Ch.2- Describe Aunt Aggie and Pa Keating. What makes Pa Keating the most positive figure in the book?
Pa Keating possesses the sustaining ability to keep his sense of humor even in the time of tragedy. There is sorry lives in/ of the Limerick poor. A humor is sometimes the only thing that can relieve misery.
Ch.2- What does Mam have a habit of doing when she is worried?
Staring at the ashes in the fire
Ch.2- How does St. Vincent de Paul treat the poor?
They help them/ assist (condescending. sever, sympathetic, & pious)
Ch.2- What is a souper?
A Catholic who become a Protestant during the Great Famine in order to eat in the protestant soup kitchens
Ch.2- How does Nora Malloy help Angela?
She goes to McGrath’s grocery with them because she know Mrs. McGrath cheats charity recipients on their food
Ch.2- What does the reader learn about Aunt Aggie’s bitterness when the McCourt children stay with her?
She wants children of her own, but cannot get pregnant
Ch.2- What tragedy befalls the McCourts and how do they individually respond?
Oliver dies. Dad responds by drinking all their money away. Euguene is confuse and stares out a window all day.
Ch.2- What do the children at Leamy’s National School ask the McCourts?
They ask if they are cowboys or gangsters. (stereotypical)
Ch.2- What happens to Eugene? Why does Frankie get upset with his father?
Eugene dies of “pneumonia”. Frankie gets upset with his father b/c he goes drinking & then sets his pint on Eugene’s coffin.
Ch.2- What is Frankie’s idea of heaven?
Frankie’s idea of Heaven: “Up in the sky… where they have plenty of fish & chips & toffee & no aunts to bother you, where all the fathers bring home the money from the Labour Exchange & you don’t have to be running around to pubs to find them”
Ch.3- Why do the McCourts move from Hartstonge Street? What is the unfortunate news of their new location?
Moved once again after Eugene’s death. They are living by the lavatory shared by 11 families. Thought it was for their family only & is worried about catching diseases.
Ch.3- Whose picture do they hang on the wall and what is its significance to Dad?
Pope Leo XIII. Great friend of the workingman.
Ch.3- Contrast Mam and Dad’s feelings about River Shannon?
Mam misses the River; Dad wants to be far away from it & says it “sends poison to us in mist & fog”
Ch.3- What is ironic about Malachy’s attitude toward work and begging?
He speaks of keeping his dignity & would never dream of asking the farmers who employ him for some leftovers; drinks money he makes from the farm (which makes Mam have to beg for charity)
Ch.3- What happens to the McCourts house during the winter?
Downstairs flood
Ch.3- How does the McCourt family handle their winter move upstairs in a positive light?
They decided to call upstairs “Italy” as if it were a warm place they’ve gone for the holidays
Ch.3-How does Pa Keating help Malachy and Frankie on Christmas day?
McCourts don’t have enough coal to cook dinner; Pa Keating takes the boys to the pub & asks over for coal.
Ch.3- What is their Christmas meal?
Pig’s head
Ch.3- What is the “story” surrounding Michael?
Malachy says to the boys “the Angel on the 7th step brought Michael.”
Ch.3- How does Dad take care of the baby’s cold?
Puts mouth to baby’s nose & sucks the “bad stuff” from his head
Ch.3- Describe the St. Vincent de Paul visit?
McCourts go because they have an extra baby. See if they’re giving food to people who deserves it.
Ch.3- How does dad fix the boys shoes?
Mending the soles w/ a bicycle tire & nails
Ch.3- What literary device does McCourt employ in the paragraph on women’s and men’s roles on pg. 107. Explain.
Irony/ Women don’t sit in chair “because all they do is stay at home, take care of children, clean the house & cook a bit. Men need chairs” (Says men are doing hard work, when in reality they are lazy)
Ch.3- Where does dad find his first Limerick job? Why has he had trouble in the past?
Cement Factory; Trouble in past because of his north Irish accent, hair, he drinks, and American, etc.
Ch.3- What line does Angela continually say to Malachy? (Echoing her mom’s sentiment of her years earlier)
“You’re useless” He’s a disgrace & why doesn’t he just get out the house all together.
Ch.3- How do the boys show their discontent with their father at the end of Ch.3?
They refuse the Friday Penny that he offers them
Ch.4- Why does Frankie think “Is there anyone in the world who would like us to live?”
Master says die for faith; dad wants him to die for Ireland. Everyone is telling that he needs to die for something
Ch.4- What is Mikey Molloy’s affliction? Why does Frankie look up to him?
Mikey (“Fits”) because he has knowledge, reads books, & knows about mysterious and forbidden topics (girl’s bodies), has visions
Ch.4- What is the Collection?
the rounds the boys make in their new suits the afternoon after their 1st communion/ People give candy & money to them
Ch.4- Explain Nora’s visits to the insane asylum?
Wild, baking episodes brought on by worry about her inability to provide for her children. Husband sometimes drinks money.
Ch.4- Does Mr. Benson encourage curiousity among his students? How does he expect them to learn?
No, discourages them. Teaches his pupils to learn by note & asks them to repeat many of his sentences back to him.
Ch.4- What compassionate act does Frankie exhibit to Paddy Clohessy?
Frankie gives his raisin to Paddy because he feels pity for a boy who is even poorer than he is (Paddy has no shoes, dresses in rags, cold)
Ch.4- How do the boys humorously prepare for their First Holy Communion?
Puts paper in mouth to get taste of Holy Communion.
Ch.4- Describe Frankie’s 1st confession and the worries he had about it?
Listens to the Cuchlain story & hears the word “piss” and feels ashamed to confess it.
Ch.4- Describe the comedy of errors surrounding Frankie’s 1st Communion
Overslept- get him dressed; almost missed Frankie’s 1st communion; Frankie threw up breakfast (the body & blood of Christ); takes him to priest for confession bc grandma didn’t know what to do because she has Jesus in the backyard now.
Ch.4- How does Frankie get into the Lyric Cinema?
Mikey Mallow pretends to have a fit to create a distraction so Frankie can slip in.
Ch.5- How do Mam and Bridey spend their time?
They sit by the fire drinking tea & smoking cigs. They talk and tell each other secrets (gossip)
Ch.5- What sad commentary is made when Angela sings her “northern song”?
That she repeats (3x) “And Limerick town has no happier hearth; than mine has been w/ my man from the North”; Angela laughs hysterically (mocking her husband)
Ch.5- How does Malachy earn money? What does he do with it?
He writes. They like his way with the English language. He gives the money to Mam & then when they leave he gives it to Frankie to buy them some cigs.
Ch.5- What is wrong with Gram’s boarder? Why does she allow him to stay?
Bill Gavin (Gram’s Boarder) is a Protestant. She allows him to stay because his wife died. She feeds him. He ask her to take the Sacred Heart of Jesus down, Gram gets mad; he says “Not against it, just reminds him of his poor dead wife”
Ch.5- What ironic lecture do Frankie’s parents give about the Woodbines?
All this bad stuff about cigs & they still use them (in fact they have to get dentures) “Martyr of the fag”
Ch.5- Why does Malachy Jr. go to the hospital?
He tried on his dad’s teeth and they got stuck
Ch.5- What does the doctor notice about Frankie?
He notices that Frankie stands with his mouth open. Said it’s his adenoids and that they have to come out or he’ll look like an idiot when he grows up
Ch.5- Explain the dancing lessons fiascio
Mam has to pay sixpence. Frankie doesn’t want to get caught by his friends dancing. Mam makes him dance, puts money in black boy’s mouth. They want Frankie to by like Cyril (dancing medal winner)
Ch.5- What is the Arch Confraternity? How do they pressure their members?
All boys in the lanes & back streets that have dads on the dole/ working in laboring jobs have to join “Holy Family”- the biggest sodality in the world. Have to join so Mam can tell St. Paul Society & tell them that you’re a “Good catholic”
Ch.5- What steps do they take in order to get Frankie to become an altar boy?
Everyday after meals, Frankie kneels for the Latin (not being able to move until it’s perfect), The day he goes, his mom washes him clean & fixes his hair (with spit) & dad goes to take him. Turned down because they’re already “Full”
Ch.5- What stands in the way?
Mam says “they don’t want boys from the lanes on the altar. They don’t want the ones w/ scabby knees & hair sticking up (want nice boys) & dad w/ suits & ties with steady jobs.

Priest stands in the way and their poorness