Kelly Lloyd April 24, 2013 Irish Lit – Angela’s Ashes Final Essay Bouchard 2
Frank McCourt’s memoir, Angela’s Ashes, depicts to role of the family in times of hardship and great desperation. Despite the fact that young Frankie’s family, who lives in Ireland half a world away from his home in New York, has been torn for several years, we see the McCourts turn to them in their time of need. By leaving New York and returning to Ireland, the McCourts placed themselves in an even more financially depressed state; though not without struggle, they were able to survive with what help their family was able to provide them. Among those who the family looks to for help in Aunt Aggie, the miserly sister of Frank’s mother, Angela. Aunt Aggie, like many of the family members and neighbors we meet in the book, becomes a parent-like figure to young Frankie and his even younger siblings, but a habitually cruel and unsympathetic one at that.
Upon meeting Aggie we quickly realize that she is resentful of the McCourt children, and even more so their father, Malachy, for being an irresponsible father and husbands who fails to provide for his family and puts their troubles in her hands. When the McCourts move to Limerick to be close to family in Ireland, Aggie barks and complains about how inconvenient it is for her to have her sister’s family so close by and always asking for favors (e.g. sleeping at Grandma’s for the night and having some of her porridge). At one point, when Angela becomes very ill, Frankie even says that he is afraid to ask his aunt whether or not his mother would die like his baby sister because she would “bite his head off” (Page 62). While in these first few chapters Aunt Aggie seems cold hearted, it doesn’t take long to realize that in reality, she is jealous of...
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