Modern Irish Literature 7th
11 December 2012
Margaret’s Affect on the McCourts
During Frank McCourt’s 1996 novel Angela’s Ashes, the birth of Margaret significantly alters Frank’s father, Malachy’s life. Although her life was short, Margaret changes the dynamic of the McCourt family. She brings happiness to her father, which in turn stops his horrid drinking habit. Margaret arguably has the biggest affect on her father, after she dies. In his novel Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt’s younger sister Margaret plays a crucial role in the his father’s life.
Margaret’s birth drastically changes Malachy’s life. Margaret’s name means pearl. Pearl’s often symbolize preciousness. Her name reflects the way in which her father, Malachy, views her. Before Margaret’s birth, Frank’s father lived a destructive life, usually wasting all the family’s wages on “the drink”. This is most evident when Malachy comes home drunk singing Kevin Barry songs, usually terrorizing his family. McCourt describes it as, “Mam is tired, and when Dad comes home with the whiskey smell on him, roaring about Kevin Barry getting hanged on a Monday morning … when he sings he marches around the table, Mam cries and the twins howl with her. She says, you shouldn’t see your father like this.”(McCourt 29). However, Malachy’s destructive habit takes a halt when Margaret is born. Instead of coming home drunk, singing Kevin Barry, Malachy comes home and sings to his daughter, Margaret. McCourt writes, “When Dad comes home from looking for a job he holds Margaret and sings to her … He walks around the kitchen with her and talks to her. He tells her how lovely she is … The more Dad sings to Margaret the less she cries and as the days pass she even begins to laugh.”(McCourt 30). Here Frank McCourt, documents how cherished Margaret is in his father’s eyes. Mam even brags to Minnie MacAdorey about her husband’s resistance of “the drink”, saying, “He’s in heaven...