Angela’s Ashes

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Mikey Molloy Character Analysis

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 because of his uncontrollable muscle spasms. Mikey celebrates his “outsiderness” in Limerick—he’s fond of telling Frank that he’s not a “real Catholic,” and can therefore do whatever he wants. Mikey’s intelligence and jaunty acceptance of his own differences make him something of a role model for the young, impressionable Frank.

Mikey Molloy Quotes in Angela’s Ashes

The Angela’s Ashes quotes below are all either spoken by Mikey Molloy or refer to Mikey Molloy . 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 4 Quotes

The priest tells Mrs. Molloy not to worry. God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform and surely He has a special purpose for Mikey, fits and all. She says, Isn't it remarkable he can swally all kinds of sweets and buns but if he has to swally the body of Our Lord he goes into a fit? Isn't that remarkable? She worries Mikey might have the fit and die and go to hell if he has any class of a sin on his soul though everyone knows he's an angel out of heaven. Mikey tells her God is not going to afflict you with the fit and then boot you into hell on top of it. What kind of a God would do a thing like that?

Related Characters: Nora Molloy (speaker), Mikey Molloy (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Frank introduces us to Mikey Molloy, a young boy who's alienated from his peers because of his violent epileptic fits. Mikey is unable to take communion—a staple of Irish Catholic life—because of the supposed danger that he could have a fit and choke to death on the body of Christ. While technically Mikey's inability to take communion means that he's not a full Catholic, and therefore damned, Mikey insists that he'll be fine—surely no God would send him to hell for something he has no control over.

Mikey is one of the most interesting characters in Angela's Ashes, because he seems especially wise (in a childlike way) when it comes to Catholicism. Mikey can see, very clearly, that it would be wrong for God to send him to Hell simply because he was born with fits—Mikey seems to have a childlike faith in right and wrong, and a justice that extends beyond arbitrary rules. His view of Catholicism avoids the complex tangle of rules and regulations that many of the adults in the community get lost in.

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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.

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Mikey Molloy Character Timeline in Angela’s Ashes

The timeline below shows where the character Mikey Molloy appears in Angela’s Ashes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...series of questions and answers about Catholic doctrine). To study, Frank relies on his neighbor, Mikey Molloy, who’s a few years older than he. Mikey reads a great deal, and also... (full context)
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
Frank goes to talk with Mikey about the catechism. Mikey sits in the streets, reading a book. Frank remembers that Mikey... (full context)
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...easily, and never makes mistakes. In the evenings, he spends time with Malachy Jr. and Mikey. He realizes that the Molloys are just like his family—complete with a drunk father who’s... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...a “pissing contest.” The priest claims to be shocked that Frank heard the story from Mikey, who read the story in a book—the priest insists that books can be a source... (full context)
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...children wake up early. Frank, however, oversleeps. He’s rushed to church, excited for communion because Mikey has told him that in the evening, his parents will take him to the cinema.... (full context)
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...the cinema, hoping that he’ll be allowed in without money. At the cinema, Frank finds Mikey. Mikey offers to create a diversion—he’ll fake a fit, allowing Angela and Frank to sneak... (full context)
Chapter 8
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...studies with Mr. O’Dea at school, preparing for difficult questions about Catholicism. Outside of school, Mikey Molloy laughs at Frank for being confirmed—he insists that Catholicism is a sham, and encourages... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
One night, Frank, Mikey, and some other boys go with Peter Dooley to see his naked sisters. While they’re... (full context)
Chapter 11
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
As the chapter begins, Frank is almost twelve years old, and Mikey Molloy is sixteen. Mikey is off to go to the pub—it’s a Limerick tradition that... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
In the weeks following his talk with Mikey, Frank begins working for a man named Mr. Hannon, who takes care of horses. Hannon... (full context)