Frank Mc Court&Acute;S Angela&Acute;S Ashes Analysis Of Main Characters

3186 words - 13 pages

Born 1930 in New York City, Frank McCourt spent most of his childhood in the slums ofLimerick, Ireland until he returned to the United States at the age of 19.Having had no steady job for years McCourt finally became teacher and worked at New YorkCity public schools before retiring in 1995.Frank McCourt had always wanted to be a novelist but the dream of creating his ownmemoirs was realized late, during his retirement, when he started writing encouraged byfriends and students who had appreciated McCourt's stories about him growing up in Ireland.His biography "Angela's Ashes - A Memoir", named after Frank McCourt's mother, waspublished in September 1996 and became, against all expectations, a bestseller. It madeliterary newcomer McCourt winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize and various other awards, wasfollowed by the sequel "´Tis" and formed the basis for a Hollywood movie released in 1999.But what made the book become so successful and approved by both critics and the public? Ithink the reason is that McCourt tells about an Irish family facing all the adversities of lifefrom the point of view of his childlike self without any trace of bitterness or resentment in hiswords but rather with wit and in this way more entertaining and accessible to the reader butnevertheless impressive.The biographic novel starts in New York where Malachy McCourt and Angela Sheehan,both Irish immigrants, meet eachother and marry. They have five children there: Frank, theoldest one, Malachy, the twins, Oliver and Eugene, and Margaret, their only daughter.Unfortunately, America does not turn out to be the promised land the McCourts hoped itwould be. In the time of economic depression the father rarely has a job, and if he does,spends the wages to buy alcohol instead of feeding his hungry family. The situation improvesafter Margaret's birth. She becomes the parents' favorite and causes the father not to wastetheir money any longer. But happiness does not last for the McCourts. Margaret, only a baby,dies of pneumonia, making her mother despair and her father fall back upon alcohol.In order to help the family out of this crisis, Angela's cousins write a letter to her motherMargaret in Limerick who sends money for the two adults and four children to pay the fare toIreland.Having arrived there, the McCourts visit the father's parents in the north who tell him to askfor money at the IRA headquarters in Dublin because he had fought for the organisationbefore his emigration to the United States. But the claim is rejected so that the family has tomove on to Limerick where a new beginning could hopefully be made.Things, however, are considerably worse there than they were in New York.Unable to find a job, the father spends the dole money in pubs while his family depends onthe welfare. They live in a shabby apartment stinking from the public lavatory next door witha first floor which is flooded in the winter making the second floor the only decent place tostay at. Due to the poor...

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