Angela?s Ashes: The Setting Effects The Actions Of The Characters

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The autobiography Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt tells the life of the McCourt family while living in poverty in Limmerick, Ireland during the 30’s and 40’s. Frank McCourt relates his difficult childhood to the reader up to the time he leaves for America at age nineteen. The book has many prevailing themes, but one of the most notable is the settings relationship to the family. The setting of the book ultimately influences the choices and lifestyle of the McCourt family in many ways. Living in poverty and not being able to meet basic needs leads the characters to result to desperate measures such as stopping Frank McCourt’s education and taking a job to support the family. Frank is forced to take the job mostly because his father is an…show more content…
Frank steals bananas from a store for his hungry baby brothers and describes the situation by saying " I make sure no one is looking, grab a bunch of bananas …and we feast on them in a dark corner" (p.32). Also, Frank and his brothers steal lemonade for their sick mother who begs them for lemonade after a miscarriage. Frank is motivated by his mother’s desperation for the lemonade, " I try to find the music in my own head but all I hear is my mother moaning for lemonade."(236) Stealing for Frank and his brothers was not their first choice of providing necessities but a last resort. Living in poor housing also influences the thoughts and actions of the McCourt family in various ways. Most of the houses the family lives in throughout the book are shabby and unsanitary and promote the family’s unhealthiness. One of the houses the McCourt family lives in is characterized by the comment " dad tells them the lavatory could kill us with every class of disease, that the kitchen floods in the winter and we have to stay upstairs to keep dry" (p.104) . Because the lavatory smells so bad and the first floor floods in the winter, the McCourt family moves up to the second floor which they refer to as Italy because it is warm and clean. The charity societies visit the Mc.Courts and realize how desperate the situation is for the family. One charity
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