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Angelas Ashes Summary Essay Research Paper SUMMARY

Angelas Ashes Summary Essay, Research Paper SUMMARY “When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly

Angelas Ashes Summary Essay, Research Paper

SUMMARY

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at

all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly

worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the

miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic

childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir Angela s Ashes of author Frank

McCourt. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and

raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no

money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and

when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy– exasperating, irresponsible

and pleasant– does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can

provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved

Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.

Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for

diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the

roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual

cruelty of relatives and neighbors–yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence,

exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.

Angela’s Ashes is colored on every page with Frank McCourt’s

astounding humor and compassion. It is a glorious book that bears all the

marks of a classic.

ORAL BOOK REVIEW

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to

survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is

hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the

miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic

childhood.”

So begins the luminous memoir Angela s Ashes of author Frank

McCourt. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and

raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. This novel was the number one New

York Times Bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Also, this book is

now a major motion picture. The sequel to Mr. McCourt s memoir has also

been released and is entitled Tis. My father suggested that I read this

book and this is mainly the reason I chose to read it.

This novel was a memoir about Frank McCourt and all the hardships

that he endured. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children,

since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his

wages. Yet Malachy, exasperating, irresponsible, however somewhat

pleasant, nurtures in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide, a

story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, a great hero who saved

Ireland, and also for the tales of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings

his mother babies. Throughout this novel there are many things which bring

the feeling of sadness to the reader s mind. First of all, there are many deaths

in this novel. In the beginning there are six family members. Suddenly, a

new girl is born Margaret. Margaret excites the entire family because she is

the only girl with brothers Francis, Malachy, Oliver, and Eugene. Soon

Margaret is not well and dies unexpectedly. This tears at Frank s father,

Malachy, who loved the little girl. Next one of the twins is sick, Oliver.

Soon he is also buried and gone. Oliver was the twin of Eugene and soon the

twins are together again in heaven. This three deaths all occur in the first

chapter of the novel, so you can see how death plays a major role in this

story.

Throughout the book you will hear of how Frank s family is very poor

and poverty-stricken. Frank s father Malachy does not work but when he

does get work he drinks all his money in the pubs. The family remains poor

throughout the novel. They wear patched shoes, rags for diapers, and drink

sugar and water when they are hungry. On some nights they are lucky

enough to get a piece of bread. If the day comes when the children receive

meals like meat and potatoes, it is given to them from someone else out of

pity. This novel is set in Brooklyn in the beginning, prior to the first World

War. In the next part of the novel, the family gets up and moves back to

Ireland where they are originally from. Soon they are back in Limerick and

the river Shannon where Frank s mother is originally from. Here, Frank and

his brother Malachy Jr. are enrolled in catholic school. They both learn the

ways of the Catholics and Franky is soon making his first Holy Communion.

The day comes later in the story, when Frank is in the sixth grade, and he

makes his Confirmation. These two things are done in the church and are

acts of catechism and show faith in God. The only good things to Frank

about the Communion and Confirmation are the collections done afterward.

However, Frank never gets to do his collection after his Confirmation because

he feels very sick. He is bed-ridden at his house for over a week until his

doctor can come to see him. Finally, he is diagnosed with Typhoid Fever and

is rushed to the hospital. He spends twelve weeks here, but makes a full

recovery. In the hospital he meets a lovely girl who reads poetry to him

which he thoroughly enjoys. Her name is Patricia Madigan, and Franky

becomes quite fond of her and her poetry. Unfortunately, like so many times

in this novel, Patricia dies. This shows once again how the novel is filled

with death.

Finally, Frank gets out of the hospital and back home. When he

attends school in the fall, he finds that he has been put back to the fifth grade

because he did not complete the sixth. Now, he is eleven and not happy to be

in the same grade as his younger brother Malachy. By the time Franky is

eleven, he has two new siblings. One is named Michael, and the other

Alphonse. Michael is older than Alphonse and was born when Franky was

ten.

Later on in the novel, when Franky is fourteen he has to take up a job

when his brother Malachy and his father leave for England. Malachy Jr. has

left to play the horn in the army. Frank s father has left in order to try and

make money for the poverty-stricken family. It is when Franky is fourteen

and makes his first shilling, that he decides he will work long and hard, and

eventually find his way back to his homeland, America.

The main character in this novel was of course, Frank McCourt, the

author. Throughout the novel we discover many things about Mr. McCourt

that help us to understand him and his decision making a little better. We find

out the Franky is a curious young lad with a very powerful imagination. We

learn that he is able to sit on the seventh step and hear the Angel speaking to

him. This may lead us to believe that Frank was either very religious or very

imaginative. After reading the story I would be forced to say that it is Frank s

imagination that gets him carried away with many things. Franky always has

big dreams for himself, such as going back to America. The main character is

also nieve in the way that he believes that older boys seem to know

everything. Many times in this novel you will hear that a certain boy is four

years older than Frank, and this boy knows everything simply because he is

older. Throughout the novel we learn that Franky loves his father and mother

very much. However, he is sometimes torn between what his mother tells

him to do and what his father asks him to do. One thing that we learn in this

novel is that Franky is easily convinced. Many times throughout the novel

Franky is convinced to do things by his peers that he does not want to do.

We also learn that Frank becomes able to deal with death easily. Many times

in the novel he mentions that a certain person has died, and that is the end of

it. This is something that Frank must learn to deal with as there are so many

deaths in this story. All in all, we learn that Frank loves his family dearly,

and that it is hard for him even to stay away from them for more than one

night.

The chief issue or main decision made by Franky in this novel is his

dream of moving to America. Franky decides when he is fourteen that he will

be able to save up enough money to move back to America by the time he is

seventeen or eighteen. He works very hard but is forced to give most of his

money to his mother for food. When his father leaves, Frank becomes the

man of the house and is forced to feed the family. He works hard and his

mother gets a job. Together they support the family and keep each other fed.

Frank tries to save up as much money as he can to make an attempt at

reaching America. Frank works very hard and goes through hell to try to

reach America but it is hard for him to decide whether or not he can leave his

family in Limerick, Ireland or even if he wants to.

Another aspect of this novel would be the extreme poverty Franky and

his family live through. The first is the fact that Frank s family is so poor that

they are sometimes kept in bed with hunger pains. When they are young,

Franky and his brothers drink sugar and water. When they grow up, they

sometimes receive tea and a biscuit. The family is very poor and has a hard

enough time getting food each week than anything else. Frank s father cannot

keep a job and their situation never gets better. Throughout the entire story

we hear about how poor and poverty-stricken Frank s family is. This makes

us realize, even more, how hard it would be for Frank to live through his

terrific struggle. The theme of poverty in this novel shows us how real and

horrifying the struggle to stay alive is for some people. It forces us to see that

life is not perfect.

This novel has now been turned into a movie and has won the Pulitzer

Prize, one of literature s highest awards. It shows us the reality of the

struggle to stay alive and for that it should be recognized. It tells the true

story of a young boy, on the edge of starvation each and every day of his life.

Struggling to survive in a small house sleeping six in one bed. This novel

should be merited for the fact that it allows us to understand and peer into the

life of a poverty-stricken family. This novel was real to me because it did not

take place in a third world country, where you would expect something of this

nature to occur. The novel took place in an industrialized country, but you

would never know it. The hardships that the McCourt family endures

throughout this novel are phenomenal. If you are wondering just how grateful

we should be, you should read Angela s Ashes. Also, this novel was

written with some Irish slang, which makes it that much more interesting.

The only weakness that I could find in this novel was that it might have taken

too long for the main character, Frank, to realize his dream. There are many

struggles which Franky overcomes before he realizes what he wants to do

with his life. I feel that the author could have cut some of the mid-section of

the novel out, in order for the reader to realize where the story was going a

little sooner. Other than this one problem I feel that this novel was excellent.

My final recommendation for people wondering about Angela s

Ashes is to pick it up as soon as you can. This novel will make you come

to the harsh realization that poverty is everywhere, and you can never escape

it. It forces us to cherish, that much more, everything that we have. After

reading this novel, I was much more grateful for the things that I had. It was

an excellent book to read. It s many sad points lowered my spirits, but then

they were uplifted again with the author s humor in this novel. I would

recommend this book to anyone.

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