Angela's Ashes Essay 2

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Frank McCourt opens his memoir with “It was of course a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood” (McCourt 11). A common stereotype about the Irish is that they either are very religious or can’t resist the pint. In the memoir Angela’s Ashes, the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” and the short story “First Confession”, alcoholism affects the life style of these families in a negative way. It’s a daily struggle for each character to grow up in the environment with a family member who has an addiction. Both Frank McCourt and the speaker in “My Papa’s Waltz” do not realize until they are older that what their father’s drinking was abusive towards their families. In each piece of literature, the young boys have an inner conflict within themselves concerning a family member who drinks. Religion can add a sense of hope and comfort for some families such as Jackie in “First Confession”. For others religion is an added conflict. An example is Frank McCourt who had the church literally slam the door in his face multiple times. In both pieces of literature, religion is based on punishment. Frank McCourt and Jackie have grown up believing that everything wrong that they do, can send them to hell. The only way to forgive their sins is through punishments. In all of these works the message seems to be that in order to survive these times, one needs a sense of humor, a sense of God, and a pint of alcohol.

In Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt both alcoholism and religion are shown to have a great influence on the children of Ireland. Frank and his family suffer a great deal from their father's unstoppable drinking. Their father takes all the money they get from the dole, spends it and stays out all night to drink. In chapter one Frank states “When Dad’s job goes into the third week, he does not bring home the...
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