Angela’s Ashes

April 2, 2004

English Per. 7


Today’s society has a tendency of taking things for granted. People forget how to appreciate the little things that life has to offer. Most people, especially in this small town environment, “live the good life” and don’t even realize it. America in general is viewed as a beautiful place with endless possibilities, and it’s been like that for many years now. Majority of our nation’s citizens are not one hundred percent American, and have a number of different nationalities. This is because of immigration in our countries early years. People world wide sought freedom, and for the most part, America was the place to embrace on this journey of independence. It’s amazing some of the hardships young men, women, and children suffered through in order to escape their horrible homelands. It would be impossible to hear everyone’s stories about the difficulties they or their ancestors encountered, however, almost everyone has one. Frank McCourt does an excellent job of telling his story through the novel, Angela’s Ashes.

This true story touches places most authors don’t go. It digs into the deepest holes through out his life and deals with things the “average” person can’t even dream of. It shows just how strong love can be, and just how important it is in order to survive through difficult times. If anything it gives the reader hope, and faith, that things will always look up, and could always be worse.

Frank McCourt was born in 1931 in Brooklyn New York. He, his three brothers, new born sister, and patents, Angela and Malachy, lived in a small one room apartment. The conditions were nearly impossible to imagine, having no food or money, barely enough clothes to cover the family, no shoes, no coal for a fire to heat the living space, and worst of all, no hope. These hardships lead to the death of Margaret, the youngest


baby girl, who only lived to be a few days old. Everyone already loved Margaret dearly, she had beautiful blue eyes and dark brown hair, and after many years of trying, she was the first born girl to Angela and Malachy. The death of Margaret was the final event that leads the McCourt family to venture back to their homeland, Ireland. Angela’s family was living in her hometown of Limerick, and family was exactly what they thought they needed at a time like this, when the only thing they cared about was survival.

When they began to travel back to Limerick Frank, only four years old and the oldest of the four children, could not understand why they would ever want to leave America. It didn’t make sense that everyday hundreds of Irish were coming in through Ellis Island, while they were the only ones leaving. He stated,

“We must be the only Irish family who was saying goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, and not hello.”


Despite this, he was doing whatever he could to help his parents and his brothers.

Sadly, his father, who he loved and looked up to, was a man of two faces. The one that Franky, along with his brothers, knew and loved was the gentle hearted man who told them stories like no one else. He came up with these incredible tales of how things came to be, that the boys believed every word of. The other man was a horrible sight, a drunk who couldn’t hold a job or support his family. One who spent every penny he made on alcohol, instead of his dying family.

Shortly after they arrived in Ireland Franks brother, Oliver, at the age of two died from a number of things. Being so small it was difficult for him to survive with


no food or sleep, and with disease all around him. Not more than a few months later, Eugene, Oliver’s twin died as well. The McCourt family was slowly fading away, the family of seven, was now only a family of four.

Angela and her boys, Frank and Malachy Jr., took it into their own hands in finding a new place to live, because Malachy Sr. was nearly useless in doing so. With in the next year a new baby boy was born, and the