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Transcript of Angela's Ashes
Chapters IX & X
Chapters 9 & 10
CHAPTERS 9 & 10
Mariana Huard & Isabella Jaramillo
Analysis Chapters IX & X
Frank McCourt, describes how his parents meet in Brooklyn, New York. After his mother, Angela, becomes pregnant with Frank, she marries Malachy, the father of her child. Angela struggles to feed her growing family of sons, while Malachy spends his wages on alcohol. Frank’s much-loved baby sister, Margaret, dies and Angela falls into depression. The McCourts decide to return to Ireland. More troubles plague the McCourts in Ireland: Angela has a miscarriage, Frank’s two younger brothers die, and Malachy continues to drink away the family’s money.
The family moves upstairs to escape the cold and wet. Angela soon sickens and turns feverish, calling out for lemonade. Frank steals two bottles of lemonade from a crate outside South’s pub and a loaf of bread from a van parked outside O’Connell’s grocery store. To entertain his brothers, Frank embellishes the story of how he got the food and drink, and Michael calls him an outlaw. Malachy says Frank is no different from Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor.
The next day, Frank steals a whole box of food that has been delivered to a house in a wealthy area of town. The boys have enough food, but no fire. They go to a rich neighborhood and go door to door asking for turf or coal, but no one will help them, and they soon resort to stealing fuel from people’s back gardens.
A guard soon appears at their home to find out why the boys have been absent from school. The official tells Frank to get his Grandma and Aunt Aggie, who in turn send for the doctor. The doctor diagnoses Angela with pneumonia and drives her to hospital, while the McCourt brothers go to stay with Aggie.
Although Pa Keating is kind to his nephews and gives them food, Aggie constantly abuses the boys, hitting them and yelling at them. The protagonist writes to his father and explains that his mother is in the hospital. Malachy returns to Limerick to look after his sons, but he leaves for England again the day after Angela gets back from the hospital.
Because Frank’s father only sends one of his paychecks home, Angela is soon forced to appeal to the Dispensary for money again. Frank’s sadness at their situation turns into despair when he sees his mother begging for food outside a church. Frank is so ashamed that he is hardly able to look at his mother, whom he describes as a “beggar.”
Angela refuses to have more children which means she will no longer have any intimate relations with Malachy.
Angela’s decision frustrates Malachy and he argues she’s not fulfilling her role as his wife.
With the Second World War job is scarce in Ireland and English agents are recruiting Irishmen to work in their munitions factory which provides a really good pay.
“Families up and down the lane are getting telegram money orders from their fathers in England.” (McCourt, p. 216).
Even when the rest of the families have the privilege of getting a better life quality, the McCourt family still goes through a harsh situation.
Angela tries to convince Malachy to get a job in England and when he refuses, Angela threatens to go to England herself to find work. Malachy says a factory is no place for a woman, so he gives in and decides to go to England to find work in a munitions factory.
The family says goodbye to Malachy at the stations and Angela promises the boys one egg for each of them on Sunday morning once the money from their father starts coming. This seems like an unimaginable luxury to Frank.
Angela plans to get a new house, new electric lightning, new coats and boots for the boys and more food with the money that Malachy will send them.
However Malachy never sends the money. Every Friday the McCourt family watched as the rest of the families received their money and waited for their own. But they never get anything.
Angela learns from Bridey Hannon that the Meagher family receives public assistance from the Dispensary, and she considers it is a terrible shame and the worst thing that could happen to a family. Angela believes this is far worse than going to the St. Vincent the Paul Society since “it’s the last thing you’d do to keep yourself out of the poor house and the children from the orphanage.” (McCourt, pg. 224).
Frank gets conjunctivitis which Grandma blames on his constant reading. Angela takes him to the doctor and the doctor informs her Frank has the worst case of conjunctivitis he has ever seen so he sends him to the hospital.
In the hospital, Frank sees Seamus and Mr. Timoney. And although Mr. Timoney hardly speaks he tells Frank to “rest your eyes and then read till they fall out of your head.” (McCourt, pg. 228). Seamus visits Frank a few times and recites him some poetry before he leaves to work in an English factory.
Once Frank returns home he finds out his father “has gone pure mad with the drink, that he squanders his wages in pubs all over Coventry…” (McCourt, pg. 230). This drives Angela to desperation and she decides to go to the Dispensary for public assistance.
However, once she gets there she is humiliated by and official called Mr. Kane, who doesn’t believe her family needs the aid. At the end Mr. Kane gives her the aid but he tells her that if she receives any money from Malachy she must inform them so she no longer receives any aid. The McCourt family then return home incredibly ashamed.
Grandma berates the protagonist for ruining his eyes with “books, books, books,” but reading offers Frank a temporary escape from the world’s miseries.
There can be seen in Chapter IX that dignity is of mayor importance to Angela. Although the McCourts have no money and live in squalor, Angela is determined to save them from a low-class mentality. She criticizes mothers who call their children in to dinner and name the menu, announcing their riches to the lane. She says it is not classy to show off that way.
Out of respect and pride, the McCourts do not criticize their father in public, however much he deserves it. One boy calls his father, who never sends money from England, “a drunken oul’ shit,” but Angela and her boys would never speak of Malachy in such a way. This good behavior may not help the family get enough food to eat or enough coal to heat their house, but it keeps their standards high.
Malachy McCourt (Sr.)
Malachy McCourt (Jr.)
Oliver and Eugene McCourt
The MacNamara sisters