Role Models and The Significance of Literature
True poverty is something that many of us will never encounter. Frank McCourt survived harsh elements, an alcoholic father, an unrelenting religion, and the deaths of many family members. With such a hard life it makes one wonder how McCourt kept going day-by-day. Frank may not have had any materialistic items or a very good father but along the way we learn how McCourt found strength in literature and various father figures. Literature in any form written or verbal was a source of comfort for McCourt. Throughout the majority of his childhood, in New York City, McCourt thrived on the story of the heroic Cuchulain. As he got older he turned to other storytellers such as Shakespeare. “I don't know what it means and I don't care because it's Shakespeare and it's like having jewels in my mouth when I say the words”(196). Through literature McCourt found a means of escape. “It’s lovely to know the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head” (202). These stories were a means of control in the chaotic and poverty stricken world that McCourt lived in. Throughout the novel McCourt is constantly being told by his father and his teachers to do this and that, to die for this and that, but his headmaster Hoppy O’Halloran said the one piece of advice that McCourt truly applied to his life “He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. It is your house of treasure and no one in the world can interfere with it… You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace” (208). McCourt found solace in reading. He explored many new worlds and ideas that others in his same financial situation would never experience because they didn’t share the value of a good story as McCourt did. When Frankie was very young his father told him the story of Cuchulain. Frank took to this story...
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