Angela's Ashes, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies - Suffering Is an Essenti

Topics: Suffering, Boy, Girl Pages: 7 (2561 words) Published: October 8, 1999
‘Suffering is an essential element of childhood experiences; without it a child could not learn and grow' Does literature you study support this statement?
‘Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it'. This literal and realistic statement said by one who has known suffering and has dealt with it. Helen Keller experienced a traumatic time as a child; being deaf and blind, she knew suffering but also knew that it is possible for it to be conquered and forgot. She suffered in this way as a child and her adult life was a good one because of this suffering. The most important element in any child's life is to learn and grow. Does experiencing anguish and misery enable a child to flourish, consequently becoming a nurtured adult?

Angela's Ashes, a memoir of a childhood set in Limerick, Ireland, demonstrates Frank McCourt's suffering and distress throughout his young life. The novel tells of how the McCourt family lives and grows in poverty stricken Ireland. The conditions in which they live are appalling; rats infest and hygiene is not a common thing. This causes plenty of disease and as a result, kills most of Frank McCourts family.

A section in the novel which expresses their family's suffering is when Franks sister, Margaret, his parents' joy is taken ill. ‘But when Margaret cries, there is a high lonely feeling in the air and Dad is out of bed in a second, holding her to him.' Frank goes on to say ‘When he passes the window where the streetlight shines in, you can see the tears on his cheeks and that's strange because he never cries for anyone unless he has the drink taken from him'. This is illustrating a very emotional scene but as the child is watching, due to his age and immaturity, he fails to realise his father is grieving through Margaret's pain. This is a original way to show a child's suffering through a novel as the reader is seeing the misery through the child's eyes, but the pain being felt is by his father.

An interesting aspect of the writing in Angela's Ashes is how McCourt composes the text, from McCourts interpretation of the situation at the young age he was at the time. The spelling and grammar also indicates that the child is writing, not the adult, ‘It's a long way to the Dock Road but we don't mind because our bellies are filled with sausages and bread and it's not raining'.

This biography can partly support the original statement, as McCourt doesn't fully understand the experiences he is going through when he is at a young age, but he will reflect on them as shaping experiences as he ages. He has seen how adults react to different things and when he is older, he will value what he saw when young because he will know and understand why his elders did what they did.

Suffering is a recurring theme in Angela's Ashes. ‘Mam's teeth are so bad she has to go to Barringtons Hospital to have them all pulled out' and ‘The lane needs more lavatories' are quotes tracing the developing disease and squalid conditions. McCourt has experienced this poor quality of life and as an adult will perhaps to accept the essentials without vain as he knows and understands what poverty and suffering really is.

This is an example of a suffering childhood in Ireland at the early part of this century. The meaning of distress to another child in a separate place could mean the same. Pleasure Mouse, a little girl is growing up in 13th century China.

A family in China is slowly congregating together to witness the binding of their youngest girl's feet. Pleasure Mouse spends the time in this short story by Emily Prager visiting her many friends desperately trying to discover the big secret behind the foot binding. The Visit From the Footbinder is a empathetic short story written about Pleasure Mouse, the little girl of five, who is unaware of the great suffering she is about to undertake when getting her feet...
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