Angelas Ashes Essay 5

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Angela's Ashes

"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
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Even though Frank shows promise at school, showing a quick mind and naturally reaching for more demanding literature, he is denied the opportunity to become an altar boy. He is denied the chance of obtaining the higher education he hungers for. It is important to understand how deeply rooted the class system in Great Britain including Ireland, was in the beginning of the 20th century. In modern Europe it is difficult to identify the classes that, during the first half of the century, were extremely socially significant. It is also difficult to comprehend the extreme poverty of the Depression years. There was no unemployment insurance, no health insurance and there were no safety nets for the poor. They were left to their own devices. Their source of protection from abject poverty and starvation was primarily the church. Otherwise the poor were left at the mercy of friends and family, and on a daily basis had to swallow their pride. With regard to getting out of this vicious cycle of poverty and starvation, again it was the church that had the primary responsibility for and control over education. As has been noted Frank's attempts at becoming a part of the social and religious system that could take him out of poverty were disrupted by that same system. Frank's struggle for acceptance and participation in the higher social groups is essential for an analytical understanding
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