Pride and Poverty

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vertyAlexis Miller
Mrs. DuBay
English 12
13 April 2012
Pride and Poverty
“It is a beggars pride that he is not a thief” (Japanese Proverb). In today’s economy people are shameless and would rather be on welfare and disability than get a job and earn a living. Pride has been discarded, and poverty has become normal. People in today’s society would rather lie and steal then make an honest living that they are proud of. However in Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela’s Ashes pride and poverty go hand in hand.

During the time this memoir was taking place many families were very poor and didn’t have many possessions. One thing they could always hold dear was their pride. “The master says it is a glorious thing to die for the faith and Dad says it is a glorious thing to die for Ireland” (McCourt 113). This is important because from a young age children were taught to be proud of who they were and what they believed in. They were also raised in an era where it was almost assumed that every adult person either was an alcoholic or smoked cigarettes. It was “the norm”. Not because of an addiction but as a status quo or for relaxation during hard times. “A puff of the fag is the only comfort we have in the world” (McCourt 64). As Mam’s friend, Nora, says this Mr. Quinlivan he gets angry because he understands that all of the women at the St. Vincent De Paul have families at home starving but they can still find money to buy cigarettes.

Pride is truly a huge part of the memoir. Frank clearly shows this in his writing: “Even the poorest of the poor don’t go out on Christmas Day picking coal off the road. There’s no use asking Dad to go because he will never stoop that low and even if he did he won’t carry things through the streets” (McCourt 99).

This shows that even as a young child Frankie understands that even though his family isn’t “the poorest of the poor” his parent’s lifestyle force him and his brothers to humilify themselves and humbly do things...
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