Theme Definition: Angela's Ashes

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Five Themes of the Novel; Angela’s Ashes
By Greg Cashman

Patriotism

Patriotism is the love for one’s country and the defense of that no matter what. In Angela’s Ashes Patriotism is expressed through Cuchulain, who is a war hero from Ireland. Frank’s Dad is constantly telling him stories about Cuchulain and reminding Frank how Cuchulain fought for Ireland. In this way Malachy wants to pass on this love to his children. Being the eldest, Frank is pushed by his dad more than the other children to develop this same pride. Cuchulain is not the only character to personify Patriotism; there is also Kevin Barry and Roddy McCorley. We learn about them through songs and poems that Malachy would sing after one of his drinking binges. The problem with Malachy trying to teach Frank to love his country is that he alienates him, partially, to it. Frank was born and raised for the first years of his life in America and when they move to Ireland, Frank wants nothing more than to go back. Frank in the end loves America, but cherishes Ireland.

Patriotism makes me think of fireworks and BBQ’s, Fourth of July and USA chants. This is all patriotism for America. I rarely think of what it would be like for other countries. I have been fortunate enough to live overseas and experience it firsthand. In France, you have the Vive La Bleu and dedication to your town/village’s Soccer or Rugby team. Australian’s show theirs by going to the beach on Australia Day and hanging out with family. All countries and towns, big or small have festivities to celebrate it. I think that’s really great but what I hate the most is the fanatics, people who devote themselves to their country without a second thought. They are willing to do whatever is takes to show their pride. It ends up with them making a mockery of themselves and their country. These people are narrow-minded; they will not, for a second, think that another country might be better than theirs in one aspect. It is also patriotism...
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