An Analysis of Angela's Ashes

Topics: Frank McCourt, Malachy McCourt, Angela's Ashes Pages: 3 (992 words) Published: October 29, 2013
Angela’s Ashes: Literary Analysis

Angela's Ashes is a 1996 memoir, written by Irish-American author, Frank McCourt. The memoir chronicles the many trials and tribulations of Frank’s impoverished childhood in Brooklyn, New York and later Limerick, Ireland. McCourt’s first major release achieved literary success when it was awarded the “Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography” in 1997. Two years later, the literary success of Frank’s tale mandated the release of a film adaptation of Angela’s Ashes. Both the novel and film variants of Angela’s Ashes creating a cluster of thematic writing. However, three themes stand out above the rest.

For most of Frank’s childhood he is searching for a true father figure. Frank’s father Malachy, is a Northern Irish alcoholic, who for nearly the entirety of Frank’s childhood fails to hold a job. He falls into a pattern of finding work, the getting fired the day after his first payment as a result of spending all of his money on alcohol and missing work the next day. Frank elaborates on the frequency of this pattern, “I’m seven, eight, nine going on ten and still Dad has no work. (McCourt 145)”. Frank’s relationship with his father is very complex. It cannot be said that Frank is ashamed of his father. However, it is equally inaccurate to say that Frank is proud of his father. Frank’s image of his father is somewhat vague, and interchangeable. “I think my father is like the Holy Trinity with three people in him, the one in the morning with the paper, the one at night with the stories and the prayers, and then the one who does the bad thing and comes home with the smell of whiskey and wants us to die for Ireland.” ( McCourt 210). The film version of Angela’s Ashes is more forgiving of Malachy, making it appear as though he were just dealt a bad hand, whilst the novel is not at all forgiving of Malachy’s In respite of Malachy’s shortcomings, Pa Keating does play a minor fatherly role in Frank’s life. He often provides...
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