Angela’s Ashes

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Angela’s Ashes Characters

Frank McCourt

The narrator and protagonist of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt is sometimes a witness and sometimes an active participant in the misery of life in Limerick, Ireland. From an early age, he’s conscious of being… (read full character analysis)

Malachy McCourt Sr.

Malachy McCourt Sr. is an alcoholic, underachieving man, who goes through life without finding success of any kind. He comes to marry Angela Sheehan after having sex with her at a party. Angela discovers that… (read full character analysis)

Angela Sheehan McCourt

The titular character of Angela’s Ashes, and the matriarch of the McCourt family, Angela Sheehan McCourt, more than anyone else in the memoir, is responsible for helping Frank McCourt survive his impoverished childhood. As… (read full character analysis)

Margaret Sheehan

The old, severe mother of Angela McCourt, and Frank McCourt’s grandmother, Margaret Sheehan plays an important role in Frank’s growth and development. It is Margaret who first arranges for Angela and Malachy Sr.(read full character analysis)

Malachy McCourt Jr.

The younger brother of Frank McCourt (and the sibling who’s closest in age to Frank), Malachy McCourt Jr. is a somewhat nebulous presence in Angela’s Ashes. While he’s not particularly close to Frank, the… (read full character analysis)
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Gerard “Laman” Griffin

A cousin of Angela Sheehan McCourt, Laman Griffin is a charismatic yet unpredictable man. After Angela and her family move in with Laman, Frank McCourt begins to like Laman, admiring his fondness for reading… (read full character analysis)

Michael McCourt

Frank McCourt’s younger brother. While Frank isn’t particularly close with Michael McCourt—indeed, he pities Michael for being too young to spend time with him and too old to spend time with Alphie, the… (read full character analysis)

Theresa Carmody

A young, pretty Limerick girl who’s suffering from consumption (tuberculosis), Theresa Carmody loses her virginity to Frank McCourt, just as Frank loses his virginity to her. Theresa’s sudden death from tuberculosis shortly after having… (read full character analysis)

Nora Molloy

An old friend of Angela McCourt’s, who lives in Limerick. Nora Molloy is close friends with Angela, and it’s suggested that they’ve bonded because of the similarities between their husbands, both of whom are… (read full character analysis)

Mikey Molloy

A Limerick teenager—a couple years older than Frank McCourt—who represents an important influence on Frank’s development. Although raised in a Catholic community, Mikey Molloy is never officially made a Catholic: he can’t take communion… (read full character analysis)

Aunt Aggie

The maternal aunt of Frank McCourt, Aunt Aggie is a strict, severe woman who frequently criticizes Frank and his siblings for being sinful, lazy, etc. Nevertheless, she helps Angela Sheehan McCourt, her sister… (read full character analysis)

Pa Keating

The kind, likable husband of Aunt Aggie, Pa Keating is, like Malachy McCourt Sr., a heavy drinker and a gifted storyteller. As several points in the memoir, he comforts Frank McCourt when Frank… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Oliver McCourt
Frank McCourt’s younger brother, and the twin of Eugene McCourt. Oliver McCourt dies at a young age, devastating Angela McCourt.
Eugene McCourt
Frank McCourt’s younger brother, and the twin of Oliver McCourt. Eugene McCourt dies at a young age, shortly after the death of his twin.
Margaret McCourt
Frank McCourt’s younger sister, who dies while she’s still a baby.
Patrick Sheehan / Uncle Pat
The brother of Angela Sheehan McCourt, Patrick Sheehan is a feeble-minded man who works in the Limerick post office.
Delia Fortune
Angela McCourt’s cousin, who despises Malachy McCourt Sr., and is instrumental in arranging for Angela and her family to travel from New York back to Limerick.
Philomena Flynn
Angela McCourt’s cousin, who despises Malachy McCourt Sr., and is instrumental in arranging for Angela and her family to travel from New York back to Limerick.
Freddie Leibowitz
A young boy who lives in the same building as Frank McCourt while the McCourts live in Brooklyn.
Minnie MacAdorey
A good-hearted neighbor of the McCourts during their time in Brooklyn, Minnie MacAdorey often takes care of Frank and his siblings while Angela and Malachy Sr. are busy.
Mrs. Leibowitz
The mother of Freddie Leibowitz, Mrs. Leibowitz is a generous, warm woman who feeds Frank McCourt when he’s hungry.
Mr. Dimino
The local Italian grocer in Frank McCourt’s Brooklyn neighborhood. He gives the McCourts free bags of food on more than one occasion.
Angela Dimino
Mr. Dimino’s wife.
Mr. Quinlivan
The head of the Limerick Quaker church.
Peter Molloy
The irresponsible, alcoholic husband of Nora Molloy.
Mr. O’Dea
The schoolmaster at the Limerick school that Frank McCourt attends until the age of 14.
A schoolteacher at the Limerick school that Frank McCourt attends until the age of 14.
Bill Galvin
A young, decent man who rents a room in Margaret Sheehan’s house.
Brendan Quigley
A classmate of Frank McCourt.
Fintan Slattery
A generous classmate of Frank McCourt.
Paddy Clohessy
A school friend of Frank McCourt, who eventually leaves Limerick to go to England.
Dennis Clohessy
A middle-aged man who knew Angela Sheehan McCourt when they were much younger, and—it’s implied—loved her.
Mrs. Clohessy
The wife of Dennis Clohessy, and the mother of Paddy Clohessy.
Mickey Spellacy
A friend of Frank McCourt.
Mr. Timoney
An elderly, eccentric man. Frank McCourt reads to him.
Declan Collopy
A large, bullying boy, with whom Frank McCourt has a fight.
Alphonsus Joseph “Alphie” McCourt
Frank McCourt’s youngest brother, and the baby of the family.
Peter Dooley
A shy, hunchbacked classmate of Frank McCourt, who makes extra money for himself by letting his classmates pay to see his sisters lying naked in their rooms.
Patricia Madigan
A young, kind-hearted girl who befriends Frank McCourt while they’re both in the hospital. She eventually dies of illness.
A janitor in the Limerick hospital, who looks after Frank McCourt while he’s being treated for typhoid fever.
Thomas L. O’Halloran
An eccentric, knowledgeable schoolteacher who encourages Frank McCourt and his peers to contemplate the world.
Mr. Coffey
An official at the Limerick Dispensary Office, who reluctantly agrees to provide Angela Sheehan McCourt with charity.
Mr. Kane
An official at the Limerick Dispensary Office, who reluctantly agrees to provide Angela Sheehan McCourt with charity.
A Limerick police officer.
Mr. Hannon
An aging man who hires Frank McCourt to carry heavy bags of coal around Limerick, since he’s too weak to do so himself.
Mrs. Hannon
The wife of Mr. Hannon.
Ab Sheehan
A jovial uncle of Frank McCourt, who allows Frank to live with him after Frank walks out of Laman Griffin’s house.
Mrs. O’Connell
A stern, humorless woman who works at the telegram office.
Mrs. Spillane
A poor Limerick woman with two small daughters.
Mrs. Harrington
The wife of Mr. Harrington, who dies of tuberculosis.
Mr. Harrington
A bigoted Englishman living in Limerick, Mr. Harrington nearly costs Frank McCourt his job when he spitefully accuses Frank of stealing his food and alcohol.
Mrs. Finucane
An elderly woman who sells overpriced dresses to the people of Limerick.
Mr. McCaffrey
A newspaper seller and distributer who hires Frank McCourt.
Father Gregory
The local priest who hears Frank McCourt confess to having had sex with Theresa Carmody, and reassures him that Theresa has gone to heaven.
Gerry Halvey
A messenger boy for Mr. McCaffrey.
A delivery boy for Mr. McCaffrey.
A delivery boy for Mr. McCaffrey.
Mr. Sliney
An elderly man who pays Angela McCourt to take care of him.
Stephen Carey
A priest who tells Frank McCourt that he’ll never be allowed to be an altar boy.
Miss Barry
A cold, humorless woman who works at the Limerick telegram office.
President Franklin Roosevelt
President of the United States during the Great Depression and World War II, praised for his commitment to protecting America and providing employment for all citizens.
Jonathan Swift
Renowned Irish author who wrote such classic novels as Gulliver’s Travels, as well as the satirical short story “A Modest Proposal,” in which he sarcastically proposed that England end the Irish famine by encouraging Irish families to eat their own children.
Tim Boyle
A priest who greets Frank McCourt in America.
A married woman with whom Frank McCourt has sex shortly after landing in America.
Grandpa McCourt
Malachy McCourt Sr.’s father.
Mr. Heggarty
An ex-IRA (Irish Republican Army) official who fought for Irish independence, but refuses to help Malachy McCourt Sr. find work.
Mr. O’Neill
An eccentric teacher at Frank McCourt’s school, who urges the students to study math.
Toby Mackey
A telegram boy who aspires to travel to America one day.