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The novel deal with Frank McCourt’s memoirs of his childhood.
Frank’s father ,Malachy McCourt, was born in the north of Ireland. He told Frank that he went to America because the
English government put money on his head because he worked for the IRA. Frank’s mother said, when Frank was 13, that his dad had fallen on head. Although prohibition existed in America at that time, he was a drinker. He often his vages at the speakeasies1.
Frank’s mother, Angela, who was often treated badly by her mother, also immigrated to America.
M alachy and Angela met at a party in New York. Soon they married and Frank their first child was born. One year later junior Malachy was born and than the twins Eugene and Oliver were born. Finally, the dream of Frank’s mother came true and she gave birth to a girl. However, the joy was only of short time because she died after seven months. With not having much luck in America McCourts’ wanted to take a new chance in Ireland. In 1935, a time it is more common for Irish families to leave their famine-strike country for America, the poor McCourt family did the reserved. They returned into an awful land where fleas are in the beds and the people have no work and die of starvation and damp. Arrived in Limerick, the family first lived in the house of Angela’s mother but then they had to look for their own flat. The flat they moved to was dirty and inhabitated by fleas. Also in this country Frank’s father didn’t find an job. Then Oliver, one of the twins, died on malnutrition and the damp. Within the months Eugene died suffering the same conditions. Angela often went to the St. Paul Society to beg for some food and clothes for the children because Malachy hasn't found a job. He often spent his dolemoney in pubs so that often there is no money,for coal or food. Then they moved to another flat and this raises hopes of living in a better place, but as always they are soon dashed. The lavatory for the entire street is outside their front door, and the ground floor of the flat is more than the half of the year flooted, it is nicknamed “Ireland”, and the other part, which is a dry room, nicknamed “Italy”. In this flat Angela gives birth to Michael.
Frank and Malachy attended Leamy’s National School and are subjected to teasing by the other boys. Frank is introduced to the leather strap on his first day following a playground fight. Both brothers are taunted for wearing shoes that were badly repaired by their Dad with a bicycle tire. Then Frank has his First Communion.
With the arrival of another child, Alphie, the McCourts got a gift of five pounds of the father’s family, but the father spent every penny at the pub. At home, the family is hungry and suffers cold.
Then Frank got typhoid and had to go to hospital for several months. There he slept in beds without fleas and in warm rooms for the fist time in Ireland. After the stay in hospital he had to learn to walk again. When he went back to school he had to go on class down to his brother but with an essay he wrote, entitled “Jesus and the Weather” he was allowed to attend to his old class.
Then Frank ‘s father gets a job in an English factory during the second world war. This is a new hope for the family because the jobs are well paid and they soon thought they could leave the slums. But never, except once, a telegram arrived. Now the family had to move to an uncle because they couldn’t pay for the flat. After Frank finished his school the teachers said that he has to go to the Highschool. But also in this case they hadn’t much luck because the school said that the classes are overcrowded. At that time Frank got his first job at the telegram service. In his free time he worked for a lady, Mrs. Finucane’s, to write threatening letters to her debtors. In this time he started to save money to get to America. A few years later when he went to Mrs Finucane he found her dead on the ground. Without thinking he took some money from her and the books where she took notes of her debtors. He threw the book in a river. After this he went to America because he had enuogh money
Frank McCourt was born 1930 in New York. With four years immigrated to Ireland and lived there until19 years and returned to New York where he taught in Highschool.
When he had pension he made his dream true to write this book. Angela’s Ashes has won many prices and it is translated in German, French, Holland, Norwegian.
1 speakeasies are bars where you could get alcohol during prohibition