"When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Thus begins the highly celebrated memoir by the name of Angela's Ashes, written by Frank McCourt. In this book Frank McCourt writes about his childhood, how his parents meet in New York and then decide to return to Ireland. He describes what it is like to be at the bottom of that city's tough social hierarchy, giving vivid descriptions of how class imposes severe limitations and restrictions. It is this topic, this theme, to which I will be giving the most attention.
Angela's Ashes is an autobiographical work of fiction, leading the reader to make the assumption that one is reading about things that have actually taken place. Thus it is rather pointless to be making comparisons between the actual story and the life of Frank McCourt.
As has been mentioned, the McCourt family moved from New York to Ireland. This happened while Frank himself had only reached the age of four. Though the McCourts had hoped to achieve a better way of living by returning to their native country, this did not happen. As a matter of fact, life became even more difficult. Frank's father Malachy is shunned by other Irish Catholics, due to the fact that he was not born in the south of Ireland, but was born in the northern counties. Also considering that Malachy, not long after having set foot on Irish soil, returns to his old habit of drowning his misery in alcohol, one might doubt as to whether this family has any chance whatsoever at creating a better life.
As Frank grows older he is met by the Irish society's distain for the lower classes. People are not willing to give Frank the same opportunity as more socially favoured children. Not having gained the obligatory introduction...
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