Angela’s Ashes

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Nora Molloy Character Analysis

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 alcoholics. Nora is also the mother of Mikey Molloy, an important influence on Frank McCourt’s development.

Nora Molloy Quotes in Angela’s Ashes

The Angela’s Ashes quotes below are all either spoken by Nora Molloy or refer to Nora 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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Nora Molloy Character Timeline in Angela’s Ashes

The timeline below shows where the character Nora Molloy appears in Angela’s Ashes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
After the Quakers provide Angela with some money, Angela and a woman she’s befriended, Nora Molloy , sit outside, smoking and talking. Nora Molloy reminisces about falling in love with her... (full context)
Chapter 4
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...reads a great deal, and also suffers from fits. Frank also knows that Mikey’s mother, Nora Molloy , is a friend of his mother’s. Nora sometimes goes to the local asylum to... (full context)