Angela’s Ashes


Frank McCourt

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Angela’s Ashes: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

The chapter consists of one word: “’Tis.”
In this famously ambiguous ending, McCourt seems to sum up his entire ensuing experience of America into one word. On one level, this seems like a pure affirmation of the question of the previous chapter—McCourt seems to be saying that America is a great country, precisely because of the freedom and opportunity it can offer to immigrants like McCourt himself. On another level, however, some critics have argued that “’tis” (especially after the pause of a whole new chapter beginning) is a rather half-hearted affirmation of this question. This suggests that Frank himself also feels ambivalent about his decision to leave his family and return to America, and implies that his experience there won’t all be positive and uplifting. Indeed, McCourt’s sequel to Angela’s Ashes is actually called “’Tis,” and it details Frank’s complicated, often difficult life in America.
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Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
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Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon