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Matthew Bridge, Limerick ANGELA


Matthew Bridge, Limerick ANGELA S ASHES BY FRANK McCOURT IRELAND Events in Irish History Using Encarta, outline 7 events listed that are critical to understanding ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Matthew Bridge, Limerick ANGELA

Matthew Bridge, LimerickANGELAS ASHES

Events in Irish History
  • Using Encarta, outline 7 events listed that are
    critical to understanding the historical-political
    backdrop of McCourts Ireland.
  • Discussion to follow.

Themes in Angelas Ashes
  • Angelas Ashes is biographical in nature. It
    falls into a genre called life writing.
    McCourt takes creative licence to highlight key
    points of his life. The following themes can be
    scene in the book
  • Class Struggle (Poverty)
  • Hunger
  • Fatherly failure and irresponsibility

  • The theme of poverty is pervasive. In
    Limerick, poverty is accepted as a fact of life
    although there is a charitable society and a
    rudimentary system of public assistance, neither
    does much to lift the poor out of their misery.
    For the McCourts, the dole money is never
    sufficient. When they first settle in Limerick,
    Malachy receives a mere nineteen shillings a
    week, for a family of six. "Just enough for all
    of us to starve on," says Angela. The family
    often goes hungry.
  • Not only is food scarce living conditions are
    appalling. The McCourts must deal with fleas,
    rats, flies, and lice. There is only one lavatory
    for the whole lane of eleven families, and it is
    directly outside their door. In summer the stench
    is unbearable.

  • The McCourts never have enough food to eat, and
    the food they do manage to procure is scant and
    unsatisfying. Hunger is mentioned over and over
    again until it becomes a haunting presence in the
    narrative. Franks father often drinks away the
    money the family needs for food, and comes home
    wailing about the plight of Ireland and the
  • Franks hunger is more than practical it becomes
    a metaphor for his desire to leave Ireland and
    seek new opportunity.

Fatherly Irresponsibility
  • Malachy is a study in alcoholism, laziness, and
    false pride.
  • His habit of spending the familys tiny income on
    beer, leads to disaster and ultimately breaks up
    the family.
  • Though the book is named after Franks mother,
    much of the book deals with the fatherhood of

  • Angela's Ashes is narrated in the first person,
    and apart from the first part of chapter one, it
    is told in the present tense. The present tense
    narration serves the author's purpose well as it
    conveys the immediacy of the child's experience
    and avoids giving the impression, as a past tense
    might, that the story is being told by an adult
    reflecting on his childhood.

  • The language used throughout is colloquial and
    earthy. Slang, Irishisms, and vulgar expressions
    are used frequently, and these convey the way
    people really talked in Limerick during the
    author's childhood. Having a "fine fist," for
    example, means that a person has good
    handwriting. To go "beyond the beyonds" is to
    behave in an outrageous manner.

Questions for Discussion
  • What is so unusual about the trip that the
    McCourts take to leave America and return to
  • How does the childrens brotherhood help to make
    up for the inadequacies of the father?
  • What does the author mean when he says the only
    thing worse than growing up Irish is growing up
    Irish Catholic? What role does religion play in
    the novel?
  • Why do you think the book is titled Angelas