Savannah J. Guida
Setting: Brooklyn, New York. Limerick, Ireland. 1940s
Angela and Malachy, Frank’s parents meet in America and she gives birth to Francis, his brothers; Malachy, Eugene and Oliver and a little baby named Margaret. Their father is neglectful and an alcoholic. The family lives in squalor. Soon, Margaret dies and Angela suffers from a deep depression, while Frank’s dad drinks the family’s money away. They decide to return to Ireland where Frank’s parents were born. The twins die also. As the years go on, not much changes, but Angela gives birth to two more boys. Frank gets older, goes to school, contracts a case of typhoid and develops a talent of writing and a love for the written word and a girl named Theresa, who later dies. His father abandoned his family years ago and now frank works hard to support his family and himself. At the end, he gets enough money to achieve his dream of going to America. He leaves his family in Limerick with the promise of his success, and boomerangs for his brothers. On his first night in New York he starts his journey in America by partying with a priest and “bad” women but is nonetheless hopeful for a bright future.
One of the main themes in Angela’s Ashes is overcoming poverty. The McCourt family knows the pain of suffering all too well, as they know nothing but poverty. Frank, being born into a poor home, grew up not even understanding what a toilet, couch or porridge was. His father, unable to get a job and being incredibly selfish could only find the money to support his alcohol addiction, instead of his family. However, despite his lack of possessions and security, Frank had plenty of knowledge and inspiration to have a better life. McCourt says, “You might be poor, your shoes may be broken, but your mind is a palace.” (208) With that being completely true of Frank, he managed to overcome his struggles and eventually become successful.
Malachy McCourt Sr.: