The Butcher Boy: A Book Report Essay, Research Paper
Summer Reading Assignment: Summary
The Butcher Boy
By Patrick McCabe
The Butcher Boy is the story of a young boy named Francis Leary growing up in a samll town in Ireland during the Cold War. Francis Leary tells the story as a narrative retrospect of his life. Turning the clock back 30 years or so, Francis? life is tough for that of a schoolboy?s: his father is a filthy, wife-beating alcoholic, and his mother is a borderline-insane housewife. Francis and his best friend, Joe Potter, would spend their days in the forest pretending to be Indians and John Wayne just to escape reality.
Philip Nugent was the same age as Francis and Joe, but never spoke to them on account of his mother, Mrs. Nugent. Running into Francis and Joe, one day, as they are stealing apples from his family?s tree, they approach him. The boys notice that Philip has a number of valuable comics and trick him into trading them for his own family?s apples. When Mrs. Nugent finds out about the conning of her son, she decides to speak with the parents of Francis and Joe. After Mrs. Nugent calls Francis, ?No better than a bloody pig!? Francis? mother is no longer upset with Francis, but with Mrs. Nugent.
When Francis? mother is committed to an asylum for depression, he is upset and begins taking his anger out on Philip Nugent. Mrs. Nugent tries to settle things with Francis? father, but fails due to the fact that he?s never sober. After a couple of months at the asylum, Francis? mother returns home and begins to bake for her brother?s yearly visit. The night her brother leaves the house to return home, Francis? (drunk) father unleashes a beating on her. That very night, as he hears his mother being beaten, Francis decides to run away to Dublin. After spending a week or so in Dublin, Francis returns to his town to find a funeral underway. It is the funeral of his mother. He was told that she committed suicide. A week later, out of rage, Francis lures Philip Nugent into a chicken outhouse and begins to beat him up with a chain. Joe then runs in and stops the beating dragging Francis to their clubhouse in the forest. Once there, Joe takes Francis? hand and cuts it, he then cuts his own, ?Swear that you?ll never go near Philip Nugent again!? Then pressing each other?s hands together, they were now blood brothers.
The next day, Francis is walking by the Nugent?s house when he?s spots them leaving to go to church. He breaks open the kitchen windows and begins to smash all of Mrs. Nugent?s cakes on the floor. Francis, watching the television then recalls her calling him, ?No better than a pig!? he starts to write ?PIG? in lipstick all over the house when Mrs. Nugent walks in and calls the police. Francis is taken to a detention center where he spends a couple of months. Disturbed after receiving a letter from Joe saying that Philip Nugent gave him a goldfish that he won at the town carnival. After being released from the detention center, Francis is attacked by Philip?s uncles in retribution for what he did him in the chicken outhouse. Seeing Mrs. Nugent watch his attack with a smile, Francis knew what had to be done. Somehow, Francis fends off the two uncles and goes after Mrs. Nugent. He returns to his butcher store and collects some utensils and heads to her house. Being that everyone in town was occupied with the story that the local priest had see the Virgin Mary and said that she was coming, Francis found that it would be easy enough to kill and dispose of her body without being bothered.
The details of the murder are indeed disturbing and gruesome. Needless to say, Francis is apprehended and is released from a mental institute 30 years later from where he tells his story.