Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt, #1) Angela's Ashes discussion


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The character of father in McCourt’s story “Angela’s Ashes”

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message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy Kruse The character of father in McCourt’s story “Angela’s Ashes” plays one of the main roles through the whole story. Even so that the poverty of the whole family was caused by Frank’s Dad alcoholism, Frank still loved his father and showed respect to him.
It’s well understood through the entire story that Malachy McCourt is irresponsible, heavily drinking man with no sense of duty for his family. It can be thought that the most of misfortunes that happened to the family were because of him. Even in the times of great depression it was somehow possible to find a job to support the family and be able to provide bearable life to his kids.
But in his case he was not able to do it either in Brooklyn or back in Ireland, in Limerick. Frank’s parents planned that back in Ireland it would be a better life, but it was a naive illusion.

Despite the terrible conditions of life caused by the irresponsibility and drinking habits of Frank’s Dad, Frank still loved him. He was Malachy, who stimulated Frank’s interest in storytelling, and may be because of his father, Frank began to write when a grown-up. Frank enjoyed when his father telling him stories and tales about old days of Ireland, its heroes, the neighborhoods in Limerick and its old days as well as stories that happened and somehow referred to himself. The words that Frank uses to describe his father at the beginning of the book give a clear explanation of his attitude to the dad:
“My father, Malachy McCourt was born on a farm in Toome, County Antrim. Like his father before, he grew up wild, in trouble with the English or the Irish, or both. He fought with the OLD IRA and for some desperate act he wound up a fugitive with a price on his head.
When I was a child I would look at my father, the thinning hair, the collapsing teeth and wonder why anyone would give money for a head like that. When I was thirteen my father’s mother told me a secret: as a wee lad your poor father was dropped on his head. It was an accident, he was never the same after, and you must remember that people dropped on their heads can be bit peculiar.”(p.12 on slottyvegas.com)
Frank understood that he father at some particular moment became the victim of circumstances. His free loving nature and to some extend his wild and hard-going character made him to escape from Ireland, even though that he fought in Irish Revolutionary Army for the independence of his motherland. But the whole situation in Ireland and the character of his father could not give the any kind of opportunities for a better life. As a result such disappointment in life and inability to find a place in life caused the heavy drinking of Frank’s Dad.
Frank really sympathized his Dad and he could not blame his father because he knew the sad story of his life. Another reason of why he didn’t complain on his father lies in the education he got, I mean his bringing up in Irish Catholic traditions, made a great influence on the forming of his personality. Irish traditions of the family and belief in the family are very strong and widely observed even nowadays, both in Ireland and in Irish Diaspora all the world round.
The example of Malachy McCourt, his father, made Frank to think about a lot of things, to realize that there are no easy ways in life and that a person has to struggle for happiness and never give up in order to achieve what he deserves.


Cynthia Coronado I liked your ideas, Amy. Because it was so sad how family did without, it was hard to read. Yet Frank told the story so matter-of-fact. And the fact that poverty was so bad for a lot of families...how did kids grow up living on tea and bread!?! Nowadays nutrition/food pyramid makes it sound like we HAVE to eat all these foods.


PhotoWorks Interactive Photobooth That's nice post. Thanks for sharing !!!!


message 4: by Philip (new)

Philip Morgan thanks Amy, great post!


message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris Miilu There was a recent article about Toome; there is a graveyard there, part of a convent. Pregnant girls were sent to the convent to be kept out of the way, because they were unmarried and of a lower class. The babies were taken away, and the girls were led to believe their babies were to be adopted. Later it was found that the babies died from neglect and were buried next to the convent. The writer knew he had a brother or sister buried there. Pregnant unmarried girls were shamed, hidden and forbidden to see or know their newborn infants.


Denise Turney I loved reading this book. I read it years ago. The family element pulled me in. So happy that Frank went on to carve out a career using his great writing talent.


RoseAnn Chris wrote: "There was a recent article about Toome; there is a graveyard there, part of a convent. Pregnant girls were sent to the convent to be kept out of the way, because they were unmarried and of a lower ..."

Have you read the book or seen the movie Philomena? It is a true (and heartbreaking) story about a young Irish girl who was forced to give up the child she bore out of wedlock.

It is also one of the unique cases where I found the movie more enjoyable than the book. Judy Dench is perfectly cast as Philomena and she really brought the character to life.


Gary Jr. "Angela's Ashes" was the first memoir I ever read (and it cemented the desire to write my own memoir someday). Interesting how different 'characters' resonate with different people. In my mind, the story is about Frank, his relationship with his brother Malachy, and, of course, his mother. Reading this post made me recall the father and how his presence (and absence) was such a factor in shaping who Frank became. Good share.


Louise I read this book a few months ago, and I felt so sorry for the little children and the family. I enjoyed reading your views on this book. Alcoholism is a terrible addiction, and affects everyone around them.


message 10: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Jr. Couldn’t agree more. Alcoholism was a destructive force in my own childhood. Very sad disease that not many people understand.


message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Balcom This book causes mixed feelings. It's interesting but is so realistic characters, that even ugly. I write an essay about this book in college. But my friend from https://writingpeak.co.uk/custom-essay-writing helped me with writing. It was easy and fast.


Jgood29 One thing that I took away from the great poverty from the father's drinking: If it was possible for a man to drink away his entire week's wages in one night, either alcohol was way too expensive or he wasn't getting paid worth shit. I think it was (and is) the latter. Working men and women should be valued with a dignified wage, not just strung along and propped up to pull the plow through another week.


Suzanne Jgood29 wrote: "One thing that I took away from the great poverty from the father's drinking: If it was possible for a man to drink away his entire week's wages in one night, either alcohol was way too expensive o..."

In Ireland and in England it is customary to buy a round of drinks for everyone in your company. As you can imagine the meagre wages wouldn't have lasted long.


message 14: by Suzanne (last edited Nov 19, 2019 02:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suzanne Gary wrote: ""Angela's Ashes" was the first memoir I ever read (and it cemented the desire to write my own memoir someday). Interesting how different 'characters' resonate with different people. In my mind, the..."

I laughed and I cried, and saw many similarities to my own family which like you, prompted me to write my memoir ten years ago. It was very cathartic, but also very scary, so it sat gathering dust on my computer until a few months ago when I finally found the courage to publish it. It has upset a few family members, but I think everyone has a right to tell their own story.


Gurpreet I read this book two years ago and it reminded me of so many people close to me particularly my best friend.

I cried while reading this book and the copy is still with me even though I got it as a second hand gift. I would always treasure this book no matter what.

It did open up my eyes about the people who go through poverty immensely and they never dare to give up.


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