Theme Of Angela's Ashes

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Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt Frank McCourt’s memoir details his tough, Irish childhood. It takes place in the slums of Limerick, Ireland in the ‘30s or ‘40s. It touches upon themes such as poverty, Catholicism, and growing up. This quote sums up the tone of the book pretty well, “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.” Another important factor in McCourt’s childhood is humor. Angela’s Ashes is not a dark book - it takes place during a dark period in the author’s life, but it never feels too dark. The main character, Frankie, is a young boy from the Irish…show more content…
They recite one of the Ten Commandments early on in the chapter, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (p 132, l 13). But more importantly Frankie is going through his First Communion and First Confession. Most of the chapter is spent either talking about Mikey’s experiences with his First Communion, how nervous Frankie is for his Confession, the process from Mr. Benson or lastly - the actual event. This is ‘foreshadowed’ or rather - pointed out - in the first quote I mentioned. (“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood”) The difference is ‘Catholic’. The religious aspect of his childhood must be important to him now, that he includes it in this biographical piece. The humor in Angela’s Ashes is more of an observational nature as opposed to jokes and funny passages. For example, “He says it’s a gift to have crossed eyes because you’re like a god looking two ways at once and if you had crossed eyes in the ancient Roman times you had no problem getting a good job” (p 125, ll 12 - 15). It’s not funny in an obvious way, but the thought of Mikey thinking he would have gotten a good job in ancient Rome because of his eyes - the same eyes that need an operation in present times - is a chuckle-worthy
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