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McCourt Family Tree
Transcript of McCourt Family Tree
Project By Amanda Binette
by Frank McCourt
America: New York, during the Great Depression (1930's)
Moved to Limerick Ireland (1935)
"Dad is back with the doctor. Dad has the whiskey smell.
The doctor examines the baby, prods her, raises her eyelids, feels her neck,
arms, legs. He straightens her up and shakes his head. She's gone.
Mam reaches for the baby, hugs her, turns to the wall." (36)
-Margaret Dies 7 weeks after birth
"Two days later Dad returns from his cigarette hunt. It's the middle of the night but he gets Malachy and me out of bed. He has the smell of the drink on him. He has us stand at attention in the kitchen. We are soldiers. He tells us wew must promise to die for Ireland." (39)
-Every time Franks father comes home drunk he makes the boys promise to die for Ireland and sing songs of soldiers
"The master says it's time to prepare for First Confession and First Communion, to know and remember all the questions and answers in the catechism to become good Catholics, to now the difference between right and wrong, to die for the Faith if called on."
"The master says it's a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says it's a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there's anyone in the world who would like us to live. My brothers are dead, my sister is dead and I wonder if they died for Ireland or the Faith." (113)
"Mam can see Kathleen O'Connell doesn't want to give anymore credit at the shop and her own mother barks at her if she asks for the loan of a shilling and the St. Vincent de Paul Society want know when she'll stop asking for charity especially with a husband in England. She's ashamed of the way we look with the dirty old torn shirts, raggedy ganseys, broken shoes, holes in our stockings. She lies awake at night thinking the most merciful thing of all would be to put the four boys in an orphanage so that she could go to England herself and find some type of work where she could bring us all over in a year for the better life. There might be bombs but she'd prefer bombs anytime to the shame of begging from this one and that one." (231)
Mom and Dad
Angela's parents: not very helpful, they're not happy with Angela's life choices ~they hate Malachy (he's from the north) and they are disgusted by the way she keeps having kids with him.
Grandma, at the times she wasn't too mad, would do what she could to help care for the children. When the family first came to Limerick, she took them in for one night.
Angela's cousin who is cruel to Frank and forced him to move in with his uncle Ab Sheean
“…were larger women, great-breasted, and fierce. When they sailed along the sidewalks of Brooklyn lesser creatures stepped aside, respect was shown.(15)
They forced Angela to marry Malachy because he got her pregnant.
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood; the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood and yet worse is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.”(11) Frank was born in 1930.
Frank's uncle, Angela's brother. He was dropped on his head as a child. He helps Frank get a job delivering newspapers ~ Frank meet Mr. Timoney
Aunt Aggie: Angela's sister that helps care for the kids. She only helps because she's Angela's last resort for help ~Angela is extremely poor -poverty in Ireland.
“…grew up in a Limerick slum with her mother, two brothers, Thomas and Patrick, and a sister, Agnes. She never saw her father, who had run off to Australia weeks before her birth.”(13)
Franks mom, she's the one that card for him and his siblings . Then again, Frank being the oldest, he took on a fatherly role to help care for his younger brothers.
Frank's father, born on a farm in Toome, County Antrim, grew up wild and in trouble, fought with the old IRA, his mother reports he was dropped on his head as a child and seemed to never be the same afterwards, traveled to America and England and returned to Belfast, Ireland, he’s an alcoholic
Frank's younger brother, (born 1931) he's not shy at all, and grew up by Frank's side. (Frank was a role model, and a father figure)
“When he smiles you can see how white and straight and pretty his teeth are and you can see the shiny blue of his eyes, the pink of his cheeks.”(43)
They boy twins, Frank's younger brothers, always dirty, crying, and never really happy. (born 1932) They lived and survived the trip from America to Ireland, but one at a time they got sick and died during their infancy.
Frank's only sister. Before the twins died, she died at 7 weeks old. (1935) She was born in New York, and never went to Ireland.
“We all love Margret. She has black curly hair and blue eyes like Mam and she waves her little hands and chirps like any little bird in the trees along Classon Avenue.”(29
The next brother... he was born in 1936, and actually LIVES! According to Frank, he was left by an angel on the seventh step in their apartment in Limerick.
The final child! (born 1940) He doesn't have an Irish Catholic name and that upsets Angela's parents. He also actually survives!