Angela’s Ashes

Gerard “Laman” Griffin Character Analysis

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 and music. But as time goes on, Frank begins to see that Laman is actually a violent alcoholic. As a result, Frank leaves Laman’s house and never comes back. It’s suggested that another factor in Frank’s decision to leave Laman’s house is his discovery that Laman and his mother are sleeping together.

Gerard “Laman” Griffin Quotes in Angela’s Ashes

The Angela’s Ashes quotes below are all either spoken by Gerard “Laman” Griffin or refer to Gerard “Laman” Griffin. 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 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:

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Chapter 14 Quotes

I can't tell her about Mam and Laman Griffin and the excitement in the loft. I tell her I was thinking of staying here a while because of the great distance from Laman Griffin's house to the post office and as soon as I get on my feet we'll surely find a decent place and we'll all move on, my mother and brothers and all.
Well, she says, that's more than your father would do.

Related Characters: Frank McCourt (speaker), Aunt Aggie (speaker), Malachy McCourt Sr., Gerard “Laman” Griffin
Page Number: 308
Explanation and Analysis:

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Gerard “Laman” Griffin Character Timeline in Angela’s Ashes

The timeline below shows where the character Gerard “Laman” Griffin appears in Angela’s Ashes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
Angela and her children go to stay with Angela’s cousin, Gerard “Laman” Griffin. They sleep in different corners of the same room, which reeks of whiskey. Over... (full context)
Chapter 13
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...on a bicycling trip to the nearby town of Killaloe. Frank borrows a bike from Laman, and looks forward to his trip. In the meantime, he entertains himself by reading. He’s... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
Frank is scheduled to go off on his biking trip to Killaloe tomorrow. That night, Laman Griffin comes home, very drunk. Frank reminds Laman that he’ll need his bike for tomorrow.... (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
...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 her crying and... (full context)
Chapter 14
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...with Ab Sheehan. Angela and Michael visit him and ask him to come back to Laman’s house, but Frank, still angry, refuses. He imagines making money for himself and giving it... (full context)
Chapter 15
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Angela begins to spend more time at Ab’s place, until eventually she’s moved out of Laman’s house too. Over time, it comes to the attention of the unemployment office that Angela’s... (full context)
Chapter 17
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...day, Frank goes to visit Angela. They remember the cause of their argument years ago: Laman Griffin. (full context)