Angela’s Ashes

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Angela Sheehan McCourt Character Analysis

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 the mother of Frank and his siblings, Angela works tirelessly to provide money and food for them, sometimes working jobs but more often begging the Saint Vincent de Paul Society and other charities for food and shelter. Taking care of Frank and her other children is often a struggle for Angela, and not only because money is scarce—she also has to grapple with her alcoholic husband, Malachy McCourt Sr., who usually spends whatever money is available on beer. It’s tempting to conclude that Frank isn’t very close with his mother—certainly, there aren’t many moments of warmth between them, and in the second half of the memoir, they barely speak to one another. And yet Angela, more than anyone else, is the reason Frank survived growing up in Limerick, a fact that’s confirmed by Frank’s decision to put her name in the title of his book. (It’s often asked why McCourt chose to title his book Angela’s Ashes, since Angela doesn’t die at the end of the book. McCourt’s explanation is that he’d planned to write a much longer book, culminating in the death of his mother. Although McCourt shortened his memoir to only cover his time in Ireland, he liked the sound of the title so much that he kept it.)

Angela Sheehan McCourt Quotes in Angela’s Ashes

The Angela’s Ashes quotes below are all either spoken by Angela Sheehan McCourt or refer to Angela Sheehan McCourt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scribner edition of Angela’s Ashes published in 1999.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The minute she losses one child there is another one on the way. We don't know how she does it. She's married four years, five children and another on the way. That shows you what can happen when you marry someone from the North for they have no control over themselves up there a bunch of Protestands that they are. He goes out for work every day but we know he spends all his time in the saloons and gets a few dollars for sweeping floors and lifting barrels and spends the money right back on the drink. It's terrible, Aunt Margaret, and we all think Angela and the children would be better off in her native land. We don't have the money to buy the tickets ourselves for times is hard but you might be able to see your way. Hopping this finds you in fine form as it leaves us thank God and His Blessed Mother.

Related Characters: Delia Fortune (speaker), Philomena Flynn (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr. , Angela Sheehan McCourt, Margaret Sheehan
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Angela's cousins, Delia and Philomena, write a letter to Angela's mother, Margaret, who lives in Ireland. They use the letter as an opportunity to air their grievances with regard to Angela's husband, Malachy Sr. Malachy Sr. is a drunken, lazy man—but even worse (in Delia and Philomena's eyes), he's from Northern Ireland, the part of the country that's usually associated with British culture and Protestantism—everything that Angela's Catholic family despises.

The quotation is important because it also establishes a hierarchy of loyalty—family comes even before religion and nationality. In spite of Delia and Philomena's hatred for Malachy Sr., they know that Angela is bound to stay married to him forever (due to her strong Catholic convictions), so Malachy is family now. As a result, Delia and Philomena feel a sense of duty to take care of Malachy Sr. and his children (including Frank), and ask Margaret for her help in bringing the family to Ireland. Delia and Philomena seem not to have much affection for Angela or Malachy; rather, they're acting out of a strong sense of obligation to "blood."

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Chapter 2 Quotes

Grandma whispers to Aunt Aggie, Who'll put the child in the coffin? and Aunt Aggie whispers, I won't. That's the job for the mother.
Uncle Pat hears them. I'll put the child in the coffin, he says. He limps to the bed and places his arms around Mam's shoulders. She looks up at him and her face is drenched. He says, I'll put the child in the coffin, Angela.

Related Characters: Margaret Sheehan (speaker), Aunt Aggie (speaker), Patrick Sheehan / Uncle Pat (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt, Oliver McCourt
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:

After the death of her child Oliver (Frank's little brother), Angela and the rest of the family attends the funeral. Angela, it's agreed, has a responsibility: bury her child in a coffin. Angela finds herself unable to perform this task, however, as she's too miserable. And yet Angela at least recognizes that she has a duty to place Oliver in the coffin. Her grief and misery contrasts markedly with her husband Malachy Sr.'s drunkenness during the even. Whereas Malachy Sr. escapes or represses his grief with drinking, Angela faces her feelings head-on, painful though this is.

The quotation also demonstrates the power of family in Ireland. When a family member is too weak or sad to perform a duty, it's the responsibility of someone else in the family (here, Uncle Pat) to carry it out. Not for the last time in the novel, another Sheehan will give aid and comfort to Angela and her children.

Chapter 3 Quotes

Dad stands for a minute, swaying, and puts the penny back in his pocket. He turns toward Mam and she says, You're not sleeping in this bed tonight. He makes his way downstairs with the candle, sleeps on a chair, misses work in the morning, loses the job at the cement factory, and we're back on the dole again.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr.
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Malachy Sr. tries to turn a new leaf by getting a job at a cement factory. He attempts to drink less, but fails miserably: he comes back to his home late at night, extremely drunk. Angela's behavior toward her husband shows that she knows full-well the harm he's doing to his family: because he's blowing through so much money on alcohol, his children are literally starving. And yet Angela is powerless to do much about her husband's drinking problem. She can be angry with him, but she can't stop him from spending the money he earns on beer.

At this early point in the novel, we're still getting a feel for the pattern of Malachy's drinking: every so often, he resolves to stop drinking, gets a job, then starts drinking again and loses his job. Because the novel is told from a child's point of view, McCourt doesn't offer any judgment for his father's behavior. Interestingly, the absence of any big statement about Malachy Sr.'s selfishness makes Malachy's behavior seem even more despicable.

Chapter 8 Quotes

I know when Dad does the bad thing. I know when he drinks the dole money and Mam is desperate and has to beg at the St. Vincent de Paul Society and ask for credit at Kathleen O'Connell's shop but I don't want to back away from him and run to Mam. How can I do that when I'm up with him early every morning with the whole world asleep? He lights the fire and makes the tea and sings to himself or reads the paper to me in a whisper that won't wake up the rest of the family. Mikey Molloy stole Cuchulain, the Angel on the Seventh Step is gone someplace else, but my father in the morning is still mine. He gets the Irish Press early and tells me about the world, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco. He says this war is none of our business because the English are up to their tricks again. He tells me about the great Roosevelt in Washington and the great De Valera in Dublin. In the morning we have the world to ourselves and he never tells me I should die for Ireland.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr. , Angela Sheehan McCourt, Mikey Molloy
Page Number: 208-09
Explanation and Analysis:

In this complex passage, Frank tries to come to terms with his father: a man who's both a good, loving father, and an unbelievably neglectful alcoholic. Frank can't deny that his father is endangering his (Frank's) own health by spending so much money on alcohol instead of food. Yet he also admires his father for his intelligence, his talent for storytelling, and his kindness towards Frank in these private morning sessions.

So how can Frank love and hate someone at the same time? The paradox of loving and hating simultaneously lies at the heart of Frank's childhood. Again and again, he's put in a situation where he both loves and fears something, whether it's God, his father, his education, or his family. As a young man, Frank tends to move back and forth between love and hatred for his father, and it's only much later (as an adult, when he's writing this novel) that Frank looks back at his family and accepts that his father was both despicable and admirable at the same time.

Chapter 9 Quotes

And what's your name?
McCourt, sir.
That's not a Limerick name. Where did you get a name like that?
My husband, sir. He's from the North.
He's from the North and he leaves you here to get the relief from the Irish Free State. Is this what we fought for, is it?
I don't know, sir.
Why don't you go up to Belfast and see what the Orangemen will do for you, ah?
I don't know, sir.
You don't know. Of course you don't know. There's great ignorance in the world.

Related Characters: Angela Sheehan McCourt (speaker), Mr. Coffey (speaker), Mr. Kane (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr.
Page Number: 233-234
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Angela goes to the local Irish Free State office (a public place where the families of soldiers who fought for Irish independence can collect benefits) and tries to get some money to feed her family. The two men working at the office, Mr. Coffey and Mr. Kane, are polite to Angela at first, but then turn on her when they realize that she's married to Malachy, a Northern Irishman.

Coffey and Kane's taunts remind Frank of the prejudices he's forced to weather because of his father's outsider status in Limerick. Although Malachy drinks away his wages and starves his family, it's important to remember that he's not entirely to blame for his family's poverty: he can barely get a job or collect relief because his town is prejudiced against people from his part of the country. The scene is a stark reminder of the vast importance of geography, culture, and religious affiliation in Ireland.

Chapter 10 Quotes

The next Saturday there's no telegram nor the Saturday after nor any Saturday forever. Mam begs again at the St. Vincent de Paul Society and smiles at the Dispensary when Mr. Coffey and Mr. Kane have their bit of a joke about Dad having a tart in Piccadilly. Michael wants to know what a tart is and she tells him it's something you have with tea.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr. , Angela Sheehan McCourt, Michael McCourt , Mr. Coffey , Mr. Kane
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Frank describes how his father leaves Limerick to find work in London. The fact that Malachy doesn't send letters or telegrams of any kind seems to suggest that he's abandoned his family altogether: never really at home in Limerick (where he's shunned by his territorial neighbors), Malachy makes a new life for himself in a new city. There are even rumors that Malachy has taken a new lover—rumors that are too adult for Frank's little brother, Michael, to understand, as is shown in this tragicomic discussion of the "tart."

The passage is a good example of how Frank has grown over the course of the book. A few chapters ago, it would have been Frank, not Michael, who failed to understand the meaning of the word "tart" (a promiscuous woman). But Frank is maturing emotionally and sexually, and so he has some understanding of the fact that his father might be having an affair. Most heartbreaking of all is Angela's behavior in this quotation: although she's surely frightened that her husband is abandoning her altogether, her first priority is protecting her children from the truth about their father. As Frank describes it, she steers Michael away from a conversation about sexuality without batting an eye.

It isn't corned beef at all. It's a great lump of quivering gray fat and the only sign of corned beef is a little nipple of red meat on top. We stare at that bit of meat and wonder who will get it. Mam says, That's for Alphie. He's a baby, he's growing fast, he needs it. She puts it on a saucer in front of him. He pushes it away with his finger, then pulls it back. He lifts it to his mouth, looks around the kitchen, sees Lucky the dog and throws it to him.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt, Alphonsus Joseph “Alphie” McCourt
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, the new baby, Alphie, is given the best piece of meat of anyone in the family. By this point, the McCourts are on the brink of starvation. And yet they all agree that the best food available should be given to Alphie, since he needs good nutrition to grow. Alphie's reaction is at once hilarious and tragic: even though the entire family is starving, he throws the meat on the ground.

The scene is touching, because it reminds us that Alphie is too young to know how miserable his own life is—he's too young to know that every bite of food could make the difference between life and death. Nevertheless, the scene is comical as well. Frank, now a grown man, looks back at the episode from his childhood—and though it must have been horrifying at the time, it's amusing now.

Chapter 12 Quotes

He's not coming, Mam. He doesn't care about us. He's just drunk over there in England.
Don't talk about your father like that.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr.
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Frank finally speaks his mind about his father. Although Frank has previously admired his father and loved him despite his flaws, it becomes increasingly clear to Frank that Malachy is an alcoholic, lazy fool who's probably abandoned his children to starve. Frank's behavior indicates that he's coming of age very quickly, and as he grows up, Frank is forced to think more and more about how to support himself and his brothers. As he looks for work and begins making money, Frank begins to despise his father for not doing the same thing.

Angela's response to Frank—"don't talk about your father like that"—suggests that in spite of her own anger with Malachy, she doesn't want her children to grow up resentful and miserable because of Malachy's actions. Undoubtedly, Angela has thought of far worse things to say about her husband, but she has enough self-control—and perhaps a desperate kind of naïveté regarding the family unit—to keep them to herself. Instead of complaining to her friends and family, she continues to stand by Malachy. Angela exhibits a calm, even heroic devotion to her family, Malachy included.

The Irish army is looking for boys who are musical and would like to train in the Army School of Music. They accept my brother, Malachy, and he goes off to Dublin to be a soldier and play the trumpet.
Now I have only two brothers at home and Mam says her family is disappearing before her very eyes.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt (speaker), Malachy McCourt Jr.
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

This quotation establishes the tragedy of Angela's life. As she raises her children into adulthood, she's forced to watch as they leave the town of Limerick to find work elsewhere. Here Malachy Jr. goes to Dublin, prompting Angela to mourn the "disappearance" of her family.

While's it clear enough that Angela's complaints aren't exactly reasonable—the family's life in Limerick is miserable, and any kind of escape is probably a good thing—it's easy to sympathize with what she's saying. Angela has worked phenomenally hard to take care of her children--going to charities, begging in the streets, encouraging her husband to work harder, etc. After her husband, Malachy Sr., abandons her to move to London, Angela continues to devote herself to her children. So when her children move away, Angela is understandably shaken. She can't help but compare her children to Malachy Sr.—she can't help but fear that she'll never see them again.

Chapter 13 Quotes

I can hear Mam crying when she blows into the globe of the paraffin oil lamp and everything goes dark. After what happened she'll surely want to get into her own bed and I'm ready to go to the small one against the wall. Instead, there's the sound of her climbing the chair, the table, the chair, crying up into the loft and telling Laman Griffin, He's only a boy, tormented with his eyes, and when Laman says, He's a little shit and I want him out of the house, she cries and begs till there's whispering and grunting and moaning and nothing.
In awhile they're snoring in the loft and my brothers are asleep around me.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt (speaker), Gerard “Laman” Griffin (speaker)
Page Number: 294-95
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Frank hears the sound of his mother sleeping in the same bed at Laman Griffin, discussing Frank's future. As Frank listens, we the readers become aware that Angela and Laman are having sex—the implication being that Angela is pleasuring her cousin in order to protect Frank; i.e, to ensure that Laman will continue to give Frank food and shelter. Frank himself, as a boy growing quickly more mature, also seems to recognize the implications of what he hears.

The quotation shows how other people in Limerick—not just Frank—struggle to reconcile their Christian faith with their real-world needs and desires. Angela is still married to Malachy Sr., meaning that she's forbidden from having sex with anyone else. And yet because of her desire to provide for Frank, her child (and also her own desire to survive), she has sex with Laman. For all her Catholic faith, Angela's priority is always her family's survival. In this way, Angela and Frank are kindred spirits: as we've seen, Frank almost always favors his own literal needs over the spiritual requirements of his religion. Angela will do anything to protect her children—even endanger her own soul.

Chapter 18 Quotes

Frieda tells the priest I had a bit of a dizziness after going to the bathroom, that's what happens when you travel and you're drinking a strange beer like Rheingold, which she believes they don't have in Ireland. I can see the priest doesn't believe her and I can't stop the way the heat is coming and going in my face. He already wrote down my mother's name and address and now I'm afraid he'll write and say your fine son spent his first night in America in a bedroom in Poughkeepsie romping with a woman whose husband was away shooting deer for a bit of relaxation after doing his bit for America in the war and isn't this a fine way to treat the men who fought for their country.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Frieda (speaker), Angela Sheehan McCourt, Tim Boyle
Related Symbols: America
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

Frank sets sail from Limerick for America. When he arrives in America, he's greeted by a Catholic priest, Tim Boyle. Despite Boyle's warnings, Frank is immediately seduced by and has sex with a woman named Frieda, whose husband, Boyle tells us, is away hunting deer. In essence, Boyle represents everything that Frank has been trying to escape: Catholic guilt, family obligation, patriotism (the reference to "doing his bit" reminds us of the IRA officials who still grumble about the sacrifices they made for their country), etc.

In spite of Boyle's presence, however, Frank seems remarkably relaxed. Although Frank looks back on his time in Ireland with affection and even nostalgia, he also chooses to leave his country behind in favor of a new place. By the same token, he makes the conscious choice not to listen to the authority figures who bossed him around as a child. Thus, after years of being made to feel guilty for his sexuality, here he decides to embrace sexuality without regret. Frank's new sense of freedom and power is emphasized by the contrast with Tim Boyle. Although some of the other priests in the memoir are intimidating, larger-than-life figures who fill the young Frank with terror, Boyle only seems petty and incompetent, and one gets the sense that Frank is tuning him out. Frank isn't frightened of priests, or the rules of Catholicism, anymore. He's ready to begin a new life in America—a life that will one day result in his becoming a famous writer.

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Angela Sheehan McCourt Character Timeline in Angela’s Ashes

The timeline below shows where the character Angela Sheehan McCourt appears in Angela’s Ashes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Frank’s mother, Angela Sheehan, grew up in Limerick, with a big family. She never knew her own father,... (full context)
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Angela had a rough birth, and caused her mother great pain. Frank imagines how the scene... (full context)
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As a young girl, Angela learned basic reading and arithmetic. As a young woman, she tried various careers, but failed... (full context)
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Frank describes how his parents were married. Malachy Sr. was an unlikely candidate for marrying Angela, because his family wasn’t respectable at all—in fact, he’d just done three months in prison... (full context)
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A year after Frank was born, Angela and Malachy Sr. had another child, Malachy Jr. Frank and Malachy grew up playing around... (full context)
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...at the end of the day. He complained that his children were hungry all the time—Angela pointed out that they were starving. (full context)
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When Malachy Sr. brought home money for the week, everything was good. Angela would go to buy groceries, and Malachy Sr. would entertain his children by telling elaborate... (full context)
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Sometimes, Malachy Sr. wouldn’t come home at all. When this happened, Angela would take Frank, Malachy Jr., Oliver, and Eugene to look for her husband. They would... (full context)
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...a few months before). He sings her a song about a leprechaun, and Margaret giggles. Angela notices that Margaret seems to cheer Malachy Sr. up—in fact, since she was born, he... (full context)
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...and says that President Franklin Roosevelt will provide every man in America with a job. Angela notices that Frank has a bag of fruit—she demands to know where he got it.... (full context)
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The day after Frank apologizes to Freddie, Angela wakes Frank up, explaining that something is horribly wrong with the baby, Margaret McCourt—she’s very... (full context)
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As the day draws to a close, Angela gives a cry: Margaret McCourt has died, mysteriously. Mrs. Leibowitz, Freddie’s mother, rushes down the... (full context)
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In the days following Margaret McCourt’s death, Malachy Sr. is barely present, and Angela barely leaves her bed. Frank tries to take care of his family, and he changes... (full context)
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...that the man’s name is Mr. Dimino, and that he’s married to a woman named Angela—Frank’s mother’s name, too. (full context)
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...home to find Mrs. Leibowitz, Minnie MacAdorey, and two large women, who introduce themselves as Angela’s cousins, Delia Fortune and Philomena Flynn. The cousins criticize Frank’s father, mentioning that he’s “from... (full context)
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...ship begins its long voyage across the Atlantic, everyone on board waves goodbye, except for Angela, who leans over the side of the vessel and vomits. (full context)
Chapter 2
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...of their money. In Limerick, Margaret Sheehan is waiting for them, already seeming furious with Angela and Malachy Sr. She criticizes Malachy Sr. for smoking, and Frank can see that she’s... (full context)
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...begins to see how packed his new living situation is. Margaret, his grandmother, lives with Angela’s sister, Aunt Aggie. Aggie and Angela will have to sleep together, and Frank will sleep... (full context)
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...his mattress, but nothing works. One night, Malachy Sr. shakes Frank awake and tells him Angela is in great pain. The other McCourts wake up and realize that they’re covered in... (full context)
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...matters worse, Malachy Sr. smokes more and more cigarettes, depriving his family of money. Even Angela smokes as well. (full context)
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To get more money, Angela and her family walk to the local Quaker church, run by Mr. Quinlivan. Angela tells... (full context)
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After the Quakers provide Angela with some money, Angela and a woman she’s befriended, Nora Molloy, sit outside, smoking and... (full context)
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In the coming weeks, Angela manages to support her family by collecting charity and appealing to people’s sympathy. One day,... (full context)
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...him up. Malachy Sr. explains that Oliver has died of the cold. Malachy Sr. and Angela weep profusely. Malachy Sr., Pa Keating, and Frank go to the local pub. There, Frank... (full context)
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...Oliver’s body is placed in a coffin and sent to the cemetery to be buried. Angela weeps as she watches Oliver being buried. She worries aloud that Eugene—the surviving twin—will grow... (full context)
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...doesn’t return until late in the evening, however, and when he returns he’s extremely drunk. Angela yells at Malachy Sr. for starving his family, and he’s too drunk to reply. (full context)
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In the coming days, Angela insists that she wants to move to a new home—she can’t stand being in a... (full context)
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...the McCourts have chest problems, and need to be careful to keep warm and dry. Angela is devastated by the loss of another child—she sleeps for longer hours, and often can’t... (full context)
Chapter 3
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After Eugene’s death, the family moves rooms again—once again, Angela says she can’t stand living in the place where her son died. They move to... (full context)
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...family moves to the room upstairs, which they nickname “Italy,” because it’s warm and dry. Angela and Malachy Sr. have had to sell their furniture to make ends meet. At the... (full context)
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Soon after Christmas, Angela gives birth to a new child, Michael. As a baby, Michael has trouble breathing, but... (full context)
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In the spring, Malachy Sr. gets his first job in months—at a cement factory. Angela is overjoyed, because she won’t have to wait at the de Paul Society to collect... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...Frank’s sickness, he’s missed the collection as well—he has no money to see the film. Angela takes Frank to the cinema, hoping that he’ll be allowed in without money. At the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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After Frank’s vomiting, Angela and Margaret Sheehan barely talk—Angela is furious with her mother for being so harsh to... (full context)
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...six pence a day for bringing Bill his dinner. Frank is reluctant to accept, but Angela insists that he do so—the McCourts need the money. Every day at noon, Frank brings... (full context)
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Although money is tight among the McCourts, Angela and Malachy Sr. always find the cash to buy cigarettes. Angela’s teeth get worse and... (full context)
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...goes to learn how to dance, sent by his mother. At a local dance hall, Angela forces Frank to practice dancing steps with other young boys and girls every Saturday. Word... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Clohessy. Mr. Dennis Clohessy, who’s suffering from a serious case of tuberculosis, remembers dancing with Angela years before at a dance. (full context)
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...night at Paddy’s house. Early the next morning, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Angela, who’s gotten O’Neill’s note about Frank’s truancy. Dennis greets Angela, who’s furious with Frank—but soon,... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Margaret Sheehan tells Angela that Frank is now old enough to begin working for the family. Angela protests that... (full context)
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...pence and sends him on his way, saying he should come next Saturday. At home, Angela explains that Mr. Timoney is a slightly odd man, but good-natured. (full context)
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In July, Frank is startled to learn from his parents that Angela has given birth to a new baby—he now has three siblings, Malachy Jr., Michael, and... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...to. She calls the boys’ parents and tells them that their children have been bad. Angela and Malachy Sr. are furious with Frank for his behavior. They make him swear never... (full context)
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...cinema with the other boys. But suddenly, his nose starts bleeding. He throws up, and Angela takes him home to get some rest. The local doctor comes to check up on... (full context)
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...teased for being sickly. Nevertheless, the boys at the Confraternity pray for him to recover. Angela visits Frank on Thursdays—Malachy Sr., meanwhile, is supposedly working at Rank’s Flour Mill. Frank makes... (full context)
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In November, Frank is released from the hospital. Angela tells him that he’ll have to repeat the 5th form with his brother Malachy Jr.,... (full context)
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Winter approaches, and the McCourt house becomes cold and dirty. Angela complains that the stench from the nearby toilet will kill them all. On Christmas, Angela... (full context)
Chapter 9
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The chapter opens with an argument between Malachy Sr. and Angela. Angela insists that she won’t have any more children—Alphie is the last one. There’s a... (full context)
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...back from England that Malachy Sr. has been squandering his wages in England by drinking. Angela realizes that she won’t be able to get charity from the de Paul Society for... (full context)
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Angela takes her four children (Frank, Malachy Jr., Alphie, and Michael) to the Dispensary Office early... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...all their time in “Italy,” the loft area of their apartment, where it’s warmer. Meanwhile, Angela becomes deliriously ill. She’s bedridden all day, and yells out for her dead children: Eugene,... (full context)
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...to stop him. Frank returns home and shares his food with his siblings. He gives Angela food, which she accepts, even though she’s weak and delirious. (full context)
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...Outside, there’s a police officer named Dennehy. Dennehy explains that he’s come to talk to Angela McCourt about why her children have been absent from school. Frank explains that Angela is... (full context)
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...Sheehan that someone needs to take care of Frank and his siblings. Margaret agrees that Angela, who clearly has pneumonia, should be sent to the hospital immediately—in the meantime, Frank and... (full context)
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...tea every morning, and then forces Frank to write a letter to his father about Angela’s condition. Frank enjoys spending time with Pa Keating, who plays cards with the children. Frank... (full context)
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...gets word from Aunt Aggie that Malachy Sr. is coming back from England to see Angela. Frank and his brothers go back to their home, where they find Malachy Sr. He... (full context)
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Frank takes on new responsibilities taking care of his younger brothers, while Angela looks for money and food. She begs outside churches, visits the Dispensary and de Paul... (full context)
Chapter 11
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The chapter begins with a description of the old trunk that Angela keeps in the house. The trunk contains important birth papers, Malachy Sr.’s English passport, the... (full context)
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Angela informs Frank that he must give up his job with Mr. Hannon, since the coal... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...is taking). Finally, after hours, the last train arrives, and Frank’s father isn’t on it. Angela wonders if Malachy Sr. is still on the train, having fallen asleep. Frank angrily claims... (full context)
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...claims that he’s not drinking much, and adds that there are few jobs in England. Angela shakes her head and accuses her husband of drinking away his wages. This time, Frank... (full context)
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Angela falls behind on paying rent. The rent collector threatens to evict the McCourts unless Angela... (full context)
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Angela and her children go to stay with Angela’s cousin, Gerard “Laman” Griffin. They sleep in... (full context)
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...be a musician in the Irish army, and he’s sent off to Dublin to study. Angela weeps that her family is disappearing before her eyes. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...him that he has a sharp mind, and could make a good priest or politician. Angela, recognizing her son’s intelligence, takes him to the local Christian Brothers School—a secondary school where... (full context)
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...can’t tell him what to do. Laman punches Frank in the shoulder and the head. Angela, who’s been watching this scene, begins to scream. Laman snorts and then eats some fish... (full context)
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...and going to America. As he climbs into his bed, he hears the sound of Angela walking to Laman’s bed and lying down with him. That night, he continues to hear... (full context)
Chapter 14
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For the next few months, Frank stays with Ab Sheehan. Angela and Michael visit him and ask him to come back to Laman’s house, but Frank,... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...Ab Sheehan’s place. Eventually, Michael comes to live with Ab and Frank full-time. Soon after, Angela begins to spend more time at Ab’s place, until eventually she’s moved out of Laman’s... (full context)
Chapter 17
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After a long night of drinking, Frank staggers home. Inside, he finds Angela waiting for him. Angela insists that Pa Keating should have known better than to let... (full context)
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The next morning, Frank wakes up and ignores Angela. He goes to the statue of St. Francis, and realizes that he’s given up on... (full context)
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...moving to America one day. Meanwhile, Malachy Jr. gets a job working in a stockroom. Angela has begun a job taking care of an elderly man named Mr. Sliney. One day,... (full context)
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...very old, and near death. He greets Frank, about whom he’s heard a lot from Angela, and mentions that he used to know Mr. Timoney, who’s recently gone blind and died. (full context)
Chapter 18
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...travel agency that can take him to America by boat for fifty-five pounds. Frank tells Angela and his brothers that he’s due to leave Ireland in a few weeks. Angela cries... (full context)
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Angela throws a party for Frank, saving up shillings from her work for Mr. Sliney. At... (full context)