Angela’s Ashes

America Symbol Analysis

America Symbol Icon

Frank McCourt is born in America, and then spends most of his early adulthood in Ireland trying to find a way to go back. As he remembers it, America—represented by Brooklyn, where he grew up—is an intimidating, poverty-stricken place. And yet America is also a land of opportunity, where it’s easier to find work than it is in Ireland, and where it’s possible to escape the suffocating judgment and social pressure that Frank experiences in Ireland. Ultimately, America symbolizes Frank McCourt’s ambitions, and his dreams of a better life for himself.

America Quotes in Angela’s Ashes

The Angela’s Ashes quotes below all refer to the symbol of America. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Angela’s Ashes published in 1999.
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:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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America Symbol Timeline in Angela’s Ashes

The timeline below shows where the symbol America appears in Angela’s Ashes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...because she didn’t know how to curtsey properly. Her mother suggested that she go to America to find a career. Angela arrived in America just after the beginning of the Great... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...Sr. reads the paper 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... (full context)
Chapter 2
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...how he intends to find work in Ireland, since conditions there are worse than in America. He suggests that Malachy Sr. go to search for work in Dublin, where there are... (full context)
Chapter 13
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Catholicism, Sexuality, and Coming-of-age Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...and try to recruit students to become missionaries. Although O’Halloran urges him to go to America, Frank becomes interested in a missionary program with the Bedouin tribes. Frank convinces a parish... (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
Frank goes to bed, crying and angry. He dreams of leaving Ireland and going to America. As he climbs into his bed, he hears the sound of Angela walking to Laman’s... (full context)
Chapter 15
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...and her equally cold colleague, Miss Barry. Toby is an ambitious boy—like Frank, he’s seen American films, and he aspires to move to America one day very soon. He keeps a... (full context)
Chapter 17
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...tips by delivering papers, and slowly, he saves money with the goal of moving to America one day. Meanwhile, Malachy Jr. gets a job working in a stockroom. Angela has begun... (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
...work shoveling coal at a factory. Both Frank and Malachy Jr. dream of going to America one day. (full context)
Chapter 18
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...he only needs a few more pounds before he has enough money to travel to America. (full context)
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
Frank uses his new money to arrange travel to America. He finds a travel agency that can take him to America by boat for fifty-five... (full context)
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
...journey—perhaps it would be better for him to wait until Malachy Jr. can come to America with him. But whenever Frank has doubts about his choice, he’s able to reassure himself... (full context)
Irish Social Tensions Theme Icon
Poverty, Survival, and Morality Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Misery, Drunkenness, and Escape Theme Icon
The next morning, Frank is on a boat bound for America. As he sits in his room, he wonders what would have happened if he’d taken... (full context)