Angelas Ashes is a moving book full of poverty, suffering, and death thatshows that no matter how difficult things seem, the hard tines can always beovercome. Angela and Malachy McCourt, both Irish, were married in America aftera passionate night together that ended up producing their first son, Francis (orFrank as introduced to the reader). Later, the couple had another son, twins,and a daughter while living in a small apartment in New York. Margaret soon diedand the family moved to Ireland where their lives were only worsened. Angela hadtwo more children that lived, but the young twins died. Malachy was an alcoholicwho rarely held a job and spent his wages at the pub instead of on his family.They were forced to beg for food and other necessities because relatives werecruel and selfish. This novel tells the tell of young Frank having to endureextreme poverty, starvation, and a broken family with strength and courage.
Heeventually raises enough money to go to America and break free from hisdepressing childhood. In my opinion, the theme of this book is that no matterhow bad things seem to be, anyone can survive and become successful throughperseverance and determination. For example, Frank grew up in just about theworst environment possible but was determined enough to get himself to Americaand eventually become the author of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel! Frankachieved his goals by taking any extra jobs that he could find and saving everypenny possible until he could finally afford his passage to America. Because hisfather never brought home any money, Frank supported the family with what littlewages he earned at his job and was determined to make a good life for himself,his brothers, and his poor mother. Frank learned to depend upon no one buthimself and his determination to succeed won him a new life in America where henow lives happily married. I noticed numerous literary devices presentthroughout the book. One such device is the use of apostrophe.
Apostrophe isused continuously when Frank speaks to the angel on the seventh step and alsowhen he and his parents speak to the dead children such as Eugene, Oliver, andMargaret. The story is told from the point of view of Frank as he grows from ayoung boy of about three or four to a young man at nineteen. This point of viewis especially effective because it shows how he feels about his experiences ashe ages and how he felt at that exact time. His views change as he grows and hisnaivete vanishes.
He becomes a stronger, smarter person with the readerfollowing along. I also noticed frequent use of imagery. Frank describes hiseyes when they are infected with red and yellow oozing out of them.
Vividimages are also used to describe the putrid smells in their house next to thelavatory that was used by the entire street to empty their chamber pots. McCourtalso chooses to write very often in the diction of the old Irish language. Thisword choice adds to the mood of the book and attempts to bring the reader intoIreland.
The book is also packed with humor. For instance, when the boys wereplaying outside, McCourt said that the women stand because all they do istake care of the children, clean the house, and cook but the men sit becausethe spend their time discussing the problems of the world and wondering whatto do with the rest of the day(107). This is a humorous, almost satiricallook at the traditional male-female roles in a family. Humor is also used whileFrank waits for the angel on the seventh step and his naivete as a young boy.McCourts novel is filled with wonderful, descriptive images that help toshape his fascinating tale from poverty to success.Book Reports