So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank's mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he. midnight hour, the New Year, the minute of her coming and because she was a little angel anyway McCourt,_Frank-_Angela'. Angela's Ashes. A Memoir of a Childhood. By Frank McCourt. This book is dedicated to my brothers, Malachy, Michael, Alphonsus. I learn from you, I admire you.
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Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's masterful memoir of his. "A Touchstone book." "When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I managed to survive at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt Memoirs) by Frank McCourt at Download for research paper searching sites offline reading 4,2/5 () angelas ashes, by.
It was, of course, a miserable childhood: Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Yet Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: Get a FREE e-book by joining our mailing list today! Plus, receive recommendations for your next Book Club read.
T h e n he discovered speakeasies and he rejoiced. After wandering and drinking i n America and England he yearned for peace i n his declining years. H e returned to Belfast, w h i c h erupted all around h i m. H e said, A pox on all their houses, and chatted w i t h the ladies o f Andersontown. They tempted h i m w i t h delicacies but he waved them away and drank his tea. H e no longer smoked or touched It was time to go and he died i n the R o y a l Victoria Hospital.
M y mother, the former Angela Sheehan, grew up i n a Limerick slum with her mother, two brothers, Thomas and Patrick, and a sister, Agnes. She never saw her father, w h o had run off to Australia weeks before her birth.
After a night of drinking porter i n the pubs of Limerick he staggers down the lane singing his favorite song, Who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy's chowder? Nobody spoke so he said it all the louder It's a dirty Irish trick and I can lick the Mick Who threw the overalls in Murphy's chowder. He's i n great form altogether and he thinks he'll play a while w i t h little Patrick, one year old.
Lovely little fella. Loves his daddy. Laughs w h e n Daddy throws h i m up i n the air. Upsy daisy, little Paddy, upsy daisy, up i n the air i n the dark, so dark, oh, Jasus, you miss the child on the way d o w n and poor little Patrick lands on his head, gurgles a bit, whimpers, goes quiet. Grandma heaves herself from the bed, heavy w i t h the child i n her belly, my mother.
She's barely able to lift little Patrick from the floor. She moans a long moan over the child and turns on Grandpa. Get out o f it. If you stay here a minute longer I'll take the hatchet to you, you drunken lunatic. B y Jesus, I'll swing at the end o f a rope for you. Get out. Grandpa stands his ground like a man. I have a right, he says, to stay in me o w n house. She runs at h i m and he melts before this whirling dervish with a damaged child i n her arms and a healthy one stirring inside.
H e stumbles from the house, up the lane, and doesn't stop till he reaches M e l bourne i n Australia. Little Pat, my uncle, was never the same after. H e grew up soft in the head with a left leg that went one way, his body the other.
H e never learned to read or write but G o d blessed h i m i n another way. W h e n he started to sell newspapers at the age o f eight he could count money better than the Chancellor o f the Exchequer himself. M y mother s troubles began the night she was born. There is my Gerard Majella, patron saint o f expectant mothers. There is Nurse O'Halloran, the midwife, all dressed up in her finery. It's N e w Years Eve and Mrs. O'Halloran is anxious for this child to be born so that she can rush off to the parties and celebrations.
She tells my grandmother: W i l l you push, will you, push. Jesus, M a r y and holy St. Joseph, i f you don't hurry with this child it won't be born till the N e w Year and what good is that to me with me new dress? Gerard Majella. W h a t can a man do for a woman at a time like this even i f he is a saint? Gerard Majella my arse. M y grandmother switches her prayers to St.
A n n , patron saint of difficult labor. B u t the child won't come. Nurse O'Halloran tells my grandmother, Pray to St. Jude, patron saint o f desperate cases. Jude, patron o f desperate cases, help me. I'm desperate. She grunts and pushes and the infant's head appears, only the head, my mother, and it's the stroke o f midnight, the N e w Year.
Limerick C i t y erupts with whistles, horns, sirens, brass bands, people calling and singing, Happy N e w Year. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and church bells all over ring out the Angelus and Nurse O'Halloran weeps for the waste o f a dress, that child still i n there and me i n me finery. W i l l you come out, child, will you? Grandma gives a great push and the child is i n the world, a lovely girl with black curly hair and sad blue eyes.
A h , Lord above, says Nurse O'Halloran, this child is a time straddler, born with her head i n the N e w Year and her arse i n the O l d or was it her head i n the O l d Year and her arse i n the New. You'll have to write to the Pope, missus, to find out what year this child was born i n and I'll save this dress for next year. A n d the child was named Angela for the Angelus w h i c h rang the midnight hour, the N e w Year, the minute o f her coming and because she was a little angel anyway.
Love her as in childhood Though feeble, old and grey. For you'll never miss a mother's love Till she's buried beneath the clay. A t the St. Vincent de Paul School, Angela learned to read, write, and calculate and by her ninth year her schooling was done. She tried H.
You're pure useless. W h y don't you go to America where there's r o o m for all sorts of uselessness? I'll give you the fare. Malachy liked Angela and she liked h i m. H e had a hangdog look, w h i c h came from the three months he had just spent in jail for hijacking a truck. H e and his friend John McErlaine believed what they were told in the speakeasy, that the truck was packed to the roof w i t h cases o f canned pork and beans.
Neither knew how to drive and w h e n the police saw the truck lurch and jerk along Myrtle Avenue they pulled it over. T h e police searched the truck and wondered why anyone w o u l d hijack a truck containing, not pork and beans, but cases o f buttons. W i t h Angela drawn to the hangdog look and Malachy lonely after three months in jail, there was bound to be a knee-trembler. A knee-trembler is the act itself done up against a wall, man and woman up on their toes, straining so hard their knees tremble w i t h the excitement that's i n it.
That knee-trembler put Angela i n an interesting condition and, o f course, there was talk. Delia and Philomena were large women, great-breasted and fierce.
W h e n they sailed along the sidewalks o f Brooklyn lesser creatures stepped aside, respect was shown. T h e sisters knew what was right and they knew what was wrong and any doubts could be resolved by the One, Holy, R o m a n , Catholic and Apostolic C h u r c h.
They knew that Angela, unmarried, had no right to be i n an interesting condition and they w o u l d take steps. Steps they took. W i t h J i m m y and Tommy i n tow they marched to the speakeasy on Atlantic Avenue where Malachy could be found on Friday, payday when he had a job.
T h e man i n the speak, Joey Cacciamani, did not want to admit the sisters but Philomena told h i m that i f he wanted to keep the nose o n his face and that door on its hinges he'd better open up for they were there on God's business.
Joey said, Awright, awright, you Irish. Trouble, trouble. Malachy, at the far end o f the bar, turned pale, gave the greatbreasted ones a sickly smile, offered them a drink.
They resisted the smile and spurned the offer. Delia said, We don't know what class o f a tribe you come from in the N o r t h o f Ireland. Philomena said, There is a suspicion you might have Presbyterians in your family, w h i c h would explain what you did to our cousin.
Delia said,You shuddup. What you did to that poor unfortunate girl is a disgrace to the Irish race and you should be ashamed o f yourself. O c h , I am, said Malachy. N o b o d y asked you to talk, said Philomena. You done enough damage w i t h your blather, so shut your yap. A n d while your yap is shut, said Delia, we're here to see you do the right thing by our poor cousin, Angela Sheehan. Malachy said, O c h , indeed, indeed. The right thing is the right thing and I'd be glad to buy you all a drink while we have this little talk.
Take the drink, said Tommy, and shove it up your ass. Philomena said, O u r little cousin no sooner gets off the boat than you are at her. We have morals i n Limerick, you know, morals. We're not like jackrabbits from A n t r i m , a place crawling with Presbyterians. J i m m y said, H e don't look like a Presbyterian.
Y o u shuddup, said Delia. Another thing we noticed, said Philomena. You have a very odd manner. Malachy smiled. Y o u do, says Delia. I think 'tis one o f the first things we noticed about you, that odd manner, and it gives us a very uneasy feeling. O c h , said Malachy, it's just the trouble I have with my teeth. Teeth or no teeth, odd manner or no odd manner, you're gonna marry that girl, said Tommy.
U p the middle aisle you're going. O c h , said Malachy, I wasn't planning to get married, you know. There's no work and I wouldn't be able to support.
M a r r i e d is what you're going to be, said Delia. U p the middle aisle, said Jimmy. Malachy watched them leave. I'm i n a desperate pickle, he told Joey Cacciamani. Bet your ass, said Joey. Malachy considered the pickle he was i n. H e had a few dollars i n his pocket from the last job and he had an uncle i n San Francisco or one of the other California Sans. Wouldn't he be better off in California, far from the great-breasted M a c N a m a r a sisters and their g r i m husbands?
H e would, indeed, and he'd have a drop o f the Irish to celebrate his decision and departure. Joey poured and the drink nearly took the l i n ing off Malachy's gullet.
Irish, indeed! H e told Joey it was a Prohibition concoction from the devil's o w n still. Joey shrugged. I don't k n o w nothing. I only pour. Still, it was better than nothing and Malachy would have another and one for yourself, Joey, and ask them two decent Italians what they'd like and what are you talking about, o f course, I have the money to pay for it. H e awoke on a bench i n the L o n g Island Railroad Station, a cop rapping on his boots with a nightstick, his escape money gone, the M a c Namara sisters ready to eat h i m alive i n Brooklyn.
O n the feast o f St. Joseph, a bitter day i n March, four months after the knee-trembler, Malachy married Angela and i n August the child was born. In November Malachy got drunk and decided it was time to register the child's birth. H e thought he might name the child Malachy, after himself, but his N o r t h o f Ireland accent and the alcoholic m u m ble confused the clerk so m u c h he simply entered the name Male on the certificate.
N o t until late December did they take Male to St. Paul's C h u r c h to be baptized and named Francis after his father's father and the lovely saint of Assisi.
Angela wanted to give h i m a middle name, M u n c h i n , after the patron saint o f Limerick but Malachy said over his dead body. N o son of his w o u l d have a Limerick name.
It's hard enough going through life w i t h one name. Sticking o n middle names was an atrocious A m e r ican habit and there was no need for a second name w h e n you're christened after the man from Assisi. There was a delay the day o f the baptism when the chosen godfather, John McErlaine, got drunk at the speakeasy and forgot his responsibilities.
Philomena told her husband, Tommy, he'd have to be godfather.
Angela's Ashes eBook by Frank McCourt | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster
Child's soul is i n danger, she said. Tommy put his head down and grumbled. A l l right. I'll be godfather but I'm not goin' to be responsible i f he grows up like his father causin' trouble and goin' through life w i t h the odd manner for i f he does he can go to John McErlaine at the speakeasy T h e priest said, True for you, Tom, decent man that you are, fine man that never set foot inside a speakeasy Malachy, fresh from the speakeasy himself, felt insulted and wanted to argue w i t h the priest, one sacrilege on top o f another.
Take off that collar and we'll see who's the man. H e had to be held back by the great-breasted ones and their husbands grim. Angela, new mother, agitated, forgot she was holding the child and let h i m slip into the baptismal font, a total immersion o f the Protestant type.
T h e altar boy assisting the priest plucked the infant from the font and restored h i m to Angela, w h o sobbed and clutched h i m , dripping, to her bosom. T h e priest laughed, said he had never seen the likes, that the child was a regular little Baptist now and hardly needed a priest. This maddened Malachy again and he wanted to j u m p at the priest for calling the child some class o f a Protestant. T h e priest said, Quiet, man, you're i n God's house, and w h e n Malachy said, God's house, my arse, he was thrown out o n C o u r t Street because you can't say arse i n God's house.
After baptism Philomena said she had tea and ham and cakes i n her house around the corner. Malachy said, Tea? H e said tea was grand but first he'd have to go and deal w i t h John McErlaine, w h o didn't have the decency to carry out his duties as godfather. Angela said, You're only l o o k i n g for an excuse to run to the speakeasy, and he said, As G o d is my witness, the drink is the last thing on my mind. Angela started to cry. Your son's christening day and you have to go drinking.
Delia told h i m he was a disgusting specimen but what could you expect from the N o r t h o f Ireland. Malachy looked from one to the other, shifted on his feet, pulled his cap down over his eyes, shoved his hands deep i n his trouser pockets, said, O c h , aye, the way they do i n the far reaches o f C o u n t y A n t r i m , turned, hurried up C o u r t Street to the speakeasy on Atlantic Avenue where he was sure they'd ply h i m w i t h free drink i n honor o f his son's baptism.
A t Philomena s house the sisters and their husbands ate and drank while Angela sat i n a corner nursing the baby and crying. Philomena stuffed her mouth w i t h bread and ham and rumbled at Angela, That's what you get for being such a fool.
Hardly off the boat and you fall for that lunatic. You shoulda stayed single, put the child up for adoption, and you'd be a free woman today. Angela cried harder and Delia took up the attack, O h , stop it, Angela, stop it. You have nobody to blame but yourself for gettin' into trouble with a drunkard from the N o r t h , a man that doesn't even look like a Catholic, h i m w i t h his odd manner.
I'd say that. Malachy has a streak o f the Presbyterian i n h i m right enough. You shuddup, Jimmy. If I was you, said Philomena, I'd make sure there's no more children. H e don't have a job, so he don't, an' never w i l l the way he drinks. Are you listenin' to me? I am, Philomena.
A year later another child was born. Angela called h i m Malachy after his father and gave h i m a middle name, Gerard, after his father's brother. The M a c N a m a r a sisters said Angela was nothing but a rabbit and they wanted nothing to do w i t h her till she came to her senses. Their husbands agreed. I'm i n a playground on Classon Avenue i n B r o o k l y n w i t h my brother, Malachy.
He's two, I'm three. We're on the seesaw. U p , down, up, down. Malachy goes up. I get off.
Malachy goes down. Seesaw hits the ground. H e screams. His hand is on his mouth and there's blood. A n d here she is, trying to run across the playground. H e r big belly slows her.
She says, W h a t did you do? W h a t did you do to the child? I don't k n o w what to say. She pulls my ear. G o home. G o to bed. In the middle of the day? M y father's friend, M r. MacAdorey, is outside our building. He's standing at the edge o f the sidewalk with his wife, M i n n i e , looking at a dog lying i n the gutter.
There is blood all around the dog's head. It's the color o f the blood from Malachy s mouth. Malachy has dog blood and the dog has Malachy blood. I pull M r.
MacAdorey s hand. I tell h i m Malachy has blood like the dog. O h , he does, indeed, Francis. Cats have it, too. A n d Eskimos. A l l the same blood. Stop confusing the wee fellow. She tells me the poor wee dog was hit by a car and he crawled all the way from the middle o f the street before he died. Wanted to come home, the poor wee creature. MacAdorey says,You'd better go home, Francis. I don't k n o w what you did to your wee brother, but your mother took h i m off to the hospital.
G o home, child. W i l l Malachy die like the dog, M r. H e won't die. T h e apartment is empty and I wander between the two rooms, the bedroom and the kitchen.
M y father is out looking for a j o b and my mother is at the hospital with Malachy. I wish I had something to eat but there's nothing i n the icebox but cabbage leaves floating i n the melted ice. M y father said never eat anything floating i n water for the rot that might be in it.
I fall asleep on my parents' bed and w h e n my mother shakes me it's nearly dark. Your little brother is going to sleep a while. Nearly bit his tongue off. Stitches galore. G o into the other room. M y father is i n the kitchen sipping black tea from his big white enamel mug. H e lifts me to his lap. I'll tell you the story w h e n you say the name right. I say it right and he tells me the story o f Cuchulain, w h o had a different name w h e n he was a boy, Setanta.
Setanta had a stick and ball and one day he hit the ball and it went into the mouth of a big dog that belonged to Culain and choked h i m. O h , Culain was angry and he said, W h a t am I to do now without my big dog to guard my house and my wife and my ten small children as well as numerous pigs, hens, sheep?
Setanta said, I'm sorry. I'll guard your house w i t h my stick and ball and I'll change my name to Cuchulain, the H o u n d o f Culain.
H e did. H e guarded the house and regions beyond and became a great hero, the H o u n d of Ulster itself. D a d said he was a greater hero than Hercules or Achilles that the Greeks were always bragging about and he could take on K i n g Arthur and all his knights i n a fair fight w h i c h , o f course, you could never get w i t h an Englishman anyway.
That's my story. D a d can't tell that story to Malachy or any other children down the hall. H e finishes the story and lets me sip his tea. It's bitter, but I'm happy there on his lap. For days Malachy s tongue is swollen and he can hardly make a sound never m i n d talk. B u t even i f he could no one is paying any attention to h i m because we have two new babies w h o were brought by an angel i n the middle of the night. The neighbors say, O o h , A h , they're lovely boys, look at those big eyes.
Malachy stands i n the middle of the room, looking up at everyone, pointing to his tongue and saying, U c k , uck. W h e n the neighbors say, Can't you see we're looking at your little brothers? Put i n your tongue, son, and go out and play w i t h Frankie. In the playground I tell Malachy about the dog w h o died i n the street because someone drove a ball into his mouth. Malachy shakes his head. N o uck ball. Car uck kill dog. H e cries because his tongue hurts and he can hardly talk and it's terrible when you can't talk.
H e won't let me. H e says,You uck kill me uck on seesaw. H e gets Freddie Leibowitz to push h i m and he's happy, laughing when he swings to the sky Freddie is big, he's seven, and I ask h i m to push me. H e says, N o , you tried to kill your brother. I try to get the swing going myself but all I can do is move it back and forth and I'm angry because Freddie and Malachy are laughing at the way I can't swing.
They're great pals now, Freddie, seven, Malachy, two. They laugh every day and Malachy's tongue gets better w i t h all the. W h e n he laughs you can see h o w white and small and pretty his teeth are and you can see his eyes shine. H e has blue eyes like my mother.
H e has golden hair and pink cheeks. I have brown eyes like Dad. I have black hair and my cheeks are white i n the mirror. M y mother tells Mrs. Leibowitz d o w n the hall that Malachy is the happiest child i n the world. She tells M r s. Leibowitz down the hall, Frankie has the odd manner like his father.
I wonder what the odd manner is but I can't ask because I'm not supposed to be listening. I wish I could swing up into the sky, up into the clouds. I might be able to fly around the whole world and not hear my brothers, Oliver and Eugene, cry i n the middle of the night anymore. M y mother says they're always hungry. She cries i n the middle o f the night, too.
She says she's w o r n out nursing and feeding and changing and four boys is too much for her. She wishes she had one little girl all for herself. She'd give anything for one little girl. I'm i n the playground w i t h Malachy.
I'm four, he's three. H e lets me push h i m on the swing because he's no good at swinging himself and Freddie Leibowitz is i n school. W e have to stay i n the playground because the twins are sleeping and my mother says she's w o r n out. G o out and play, she says, and give me some rest. D a d is out looking for a job again and sometimes he comes home w i t h the smell o f whiskey, singing all the songs about suffering Ireland. M a m gets angry and says Ireland can kiss her arse.
H e says that's nice language to be using i n front o f the children and she says never m i n d the language, food on the table is what she wants, not suffering Ireland. She says it was a sad day Prohibition ended because D a d gets the drink going around to saloons offering to sweep out the bars and lift barrels for a whiskey.
Sometimes he brings home bits o f the free lunch, rye bread, corned beef, pickles. H e puts the food on the table and drinks tea h i m self. H e says food is a shock to the system and he doesn't k n o w where we get our appetites. M a m says,They get their appetites because they're starving half the time. W h e n D a d gets a j o b M a m is cheerful and she sings, Anyone can see why I wanted your kiss, It had to be and the reason is this Could it be true, someone like you Could love me, love me?
W h e n D a d brings home the first week's wages M a m is delighted she can pay the lovely Italian man i n the grocery shop and she can hold her head up again because there's nothing worse i n the world than to owe and be beholden to anyone. She cleans the kitchen, washes the mugs and plates, brushes crumbs and bits of food from the table, cleans out the icebox and orders a fresh block of ice from another Italian.
She buys toilet paper that we can take d o w n the hall to the lavatory and that, she says, is better than having the headlines from the Daily News blackening your arse. She boils water on the stove and spends a day at a great tin tub washing our shirts and socks, diapers for the twins, our two sheets, our three towels.
She hangs everything out on the clotheslines behind the apartment house and we can watch the clothes dance i n w i n d and sun. She says you wouldn't want the neighbors to k n o w what you have i n the way of a wash but there's nothing like the sweetness o f clothes dried by the sun.
W h e n D a d brings home the first week's wages on a Friday night we k n o w the weekend w i l l be wonderful. O n Saturday night M a m w i l l boil water on the stove and wash us i n the great tin tub and D a d w i l l dry us. Malachy w i l l turn around and show his behind.
D a d w i l l pretend to be shocked and we'll all laugh. M a m w i l l make hot cocoa and we'll be able to stay up while D a d tells us a story out o f his head.
MacAdorey or M r. Leibowitz d o w n the hall, and D a d w i l l have the two of them rowing up a river i n Brazil chased by Indians w i t h green noses and puce shoulders. O n nights like that we can drift. She sits on a bench and talks to M i n n i e MacAdorey.
She tells M i n n i e stories about characters i n L i m e r ick and M i n n i e tells her about characters i n Belfast and they laugh because there are funny people i n Ireland, N o r t h and South. T h e n they teach each other sad songs and Malachy and I leave the swings and seesaws to sit with them on the bench and sing, A group of young soldiers one night in a camp Were talking of sweethearts they had. All seemed so merry except one young lad, And he was downhearted and sad.
Come and join us, said one of the boys, Surely there's someone for you. But Ned shook his head and proudly he said I am in love with two, Each like a mother to me, From neither of them shall I part.
For one is my mother, God bless her and love her, The other is my sweetheart. Malachy and I sing that song and M a m and M i n n i e laugh till they cry at the way Malachy takes a deep b o w and holds his arms out to M a m at the end. D a n MacAdorey comes along on his way home from work and says R u d y Vallee better start worrying about the competition. W h e n we go home M a m makes tea and bread and j a m or mashed potatoes with butter and salt. D a d drinks the tea and eats nothing.
M a m says, G o d above, H o w can you work all day and not eat? H e says, The tea is enough. She says, You'll ruin your health, and he tells her again that food is a shock to the system. H e drinks his tea and tells us stories and shows us letters and words i n the Daily News or he smokes a cigarette, stares at the wall, runs his tongue over his lips. W h e n Dad's job goes into the third week he does not bring home the wages. O n Friday night we wait for h i m and M a m gives us bread.
T h e darkness comes d o w n and the lights come o n along Classon Avenue. Other men with jobs are home already and having eggs for dinner because you can't have meat on a Friday. You can hear the families talking upstairs and downstairs and down the hall and B i n g Crosby is singing on the radio, Brother, can you spare a dime? Malachy and I play with the twins.
She sits at the kitchen table talking to herself,What am I going to do? Where are my four warriors? M a m says, Leave those boys alone. They're gone to bed half hungry because you have to fill your belly w i t h whiskey. H e comes to the bedroom door. U p , boys, up. A nickel for everyone w h o promises to die for Ireland. Deep in Canadian woods we met From one bright island flown.
Great is the land we tread, but yet Our hearts are with our own. Francis, Malachy, Oliver, Eugene. M a m is at the kitchen table, shaking, her hair hanging damp, her face wet. Can't you leave them alone? Jesus, M a r y and Joseph, isn't it enough that you come home without a penny i n your pocket without making fools o f the children o n top of it?
She comes to us. G o back to bed, she says. I want them up, he says. I want them ready for the day Ireland will be free from the center to the sea. Don't cross me, she says, for i f you do it'll be a sorry day in your mother's house. H e pulls his cap down over his face and cries, M y poor mother.
Poor Ireland. O c h , what are we going to do? M a m says, You're pure stone mad, and she tells us again to go to bed. H e looks at us and shakes his head at M a m as i f to say, O c h , you shouldn't talk like that i n front o f the children.
I'm asking you, Are you c o m i n g home so that we can have a bit o f supper or will it be midnight with no money i n your pocket and you singing Kevin Barry and the rest o f the sad songs?
H e puts on his cap, shoves his hands into his trouser pockets, sighs and looks up at the ceiling. I told you before I'll be home, he says. Later in the day M a m dresses us. She puts the twins into the pram and off we go through the long streets of Brooklyn. Sometimes she lets Malachy sit in the pram w h e n he's tired of trotting along beside her. She tells me I'm too big for the pram. I could tell her I have pains i n my legs from trying to keep up with her but she's not singing and I k n o w this is not the day to be talking about my pains.
We come to a big gate where there's a man standing i n a box with windows all around.
M a m talks to the man. She wants to k n o w i f she can go inside to where the men are paid and maybe they'd give her some o f Dad's wages so he wouldn't spend it in the bars. The man shakes his head. I'm sorry, lady, but i f we did that we'd have half the wives i n Brooklyn storming the place. Lotta men have the drinking problem but there's nothing we can do long as they show up sober and do their work. We wait across the street. M a m lets me sit on the sidewalk with my back against the wall.
She gives the twins their bottles of water and sugar but Malachy and I have to wait till she gets money from D a d and we can go to the Italian for tea and bread and eggs. W h e n the whistle blows at half five men i n caps and overalls swarm through the gate, their faces and hands black from the work.
M a m tells us watch carefully for D a d because she can hardly see across the street herself, her eyes are that bad. There are dozens of men, then a few, then none. M a m is crying, W h y couldn't ye see him? Are ye blind or what? She goes back to the man i n the box. Are you sure there wouldn't be one man left inside? N o , lady, he says. They're out. We go back through the long streets o f Brooklyn.
T h e twins hold up their bottles and cry for more water and sugar. Malachy says he's hungry and M a m tells h i m wait a little, we'll get money from D a d and we'll all have a nice supper. We'll go to the Italian and get eggs and make toast with the flames on the stove and we'll have jam on it. O h , we will, and we'll all be nice and warm. We go from bar to bar looking for Dad. M a m leaves us outside with the pram while she goes i n or she sends There are crowds o f noisy men and stale smells that remind me o f D a d w h e n he comes home with the smell o f the whiskey on h i m.
T h e man behind the bar says,Yeah, sonny, whaddya want? You're not supposeta be i n here, y'know. I'm looking for my father. Is my father here? Naw, sonny, how'd I k n o w dat? Who's your fawdah? His name is Malachy and he sings K e v i n Barry. N o , Malachy. H e calls out to the men i n the bar,Youse guys, youse k n o w guy Malachy what sings K e v i n Barry? M e n shake their heads. O n e says he knew a guy Michael sang K e v i n Barry but he died o f the drink w h i c h he had because o f his war wounds.
T h e barman says, Jeez, Pete, I didn't ax ya to tell me history o' da woild, did I? Naw, kid. We don't let people sing i n here. Causes trouble. Specially the Irish. Let 'em sing, next the fists are flying. Besides, I never hoid a name like dat Malachy. Naw, kid, no Malachy here. T h e man called Pete holds his glass toward me. Here, kid, have a sip, but the barman says,Whaddya doin', Pete? Tryina get the k i d drunk? D o that again, Pete, an' I'll come out an' break y'ass. M a m tries all the bars around the station before she gives up.
She leans against a wall and cries. Jesus, we still have to walk all the way to Classon Avenue and I have four starving children. She sends me back into the bar where Pete offered me the sip to see i f the barman would fill the twins' bottles with water and maybe a little sugar i n each. The men i n the bar think it's very funny that the barman should be filling baby bottles but he's big and he tells them shut their lip.
H e tells me babies should be drinking milk not water and w h e n I tell h i m M a m doesn't have the money he empties the baby bottles and fills them with milk. H e says, Tell ya m o m they need that for the teeth an' bones. Ya drink water an' sugar an' all ya get is rickets.
She says she knows all about teeth and bones and rickets but beggars can't be choosers. W h e n we reach Classon Avenue she goes straight to the Italian grocery shop. She tells the man her husband is late tonight, that he's probably working overtime, and w o u l d it be at all possible to get: T h e Italian says, Missus, you always pay your bill sooner or later and you can have anything you like in this store. O h , she says, I don't want much. Anything you like, missus, because I k n o w you're an honest woman and you got a bunch o' nice kids there.
We have eggs and toast and j a m though we're so weary walking the long streets of Brooklyn we can barely move our jaws to chew. The twins fall asleep after eating and M a m lays them on the bed to change their diapers. She sends me down the hall to rinse the dirty diapers i n the lavatory so that they can be hung up to dry and used the next day.
Malachy helps her wash the twins' bottoms though he's ready to fall asleep himself. I crawl into bed with Malachy and the twins. I look out at M a m at the kitchen table, smoking a cigarette, drinking tea, and crying. I want to get up and tell her I'll be a man soon and I'll get a j o b i n the place w i t h the big gate and I'll come home every Friday night with money for eggs and toast and j a m and she can sing again Anyone can see w h y I wanted your kiss.
T h e next week D a d loses the job. H e comes home that Friday night, throws his wages on the table and says to M a m , Are you happy now? Y o u hang around the gate complaining and accusing and they sack me. They were looking for an excuse and you gave it to them. H e takes a few dollars from his wages and goes out. H e comes home late roaring and singing. The twins cry and M a m shushes them and cries a long time herself. We spend hours in the playground when the twins are sleeping, when M a m is tired, and when D a d comes home with the whiskey smell on him, roaring about Kevin Barry getting hanged on a M o n d a y morning or the R o d d y M c C o r l e y song, Up the narrow street he stepped Smiling and proud and young About the hemp-rope on his neck The golden ringlets clung, There's never a tear in the blue eyes Both glad and bright are they, As Roddy McCorley goes to die On the bridge ofToome today W h e n he sings he marches around the table, M a m cries and the twins h o w l w i t h her.
She says, G o out, Frankie, go out, Malachy. You shouldn't see your father like this. Stay in the playground.
We don't m i n d going to the playground. We can play w i t h the leaves piling up on the ground and we can push each other on the swings but then winter comes to Classon Avenue and the swings are frozen and won't even move. They don't have a glove between them. That makes me laugh because I k n o w Malachy and I have four hands between us and one glove w o u l d be silly.
Malachy doesn't k n o w what I'm laughing at: H e won't k n o w anything till he's four going on five. H e holds her bottle and sings, Clap hands, clap hands, Till Daddy comes home, With buns in his pocket For Maisie alone. Malachy tries to sing that song but I tell h i m stop, it's Maisie's song. H e starts to cry and M i n n i e says, There, there. You can sing the song. That's a song for all the children. M a c A d o r e y smiles at Malachy and I wonder what kind o f world is it where anyone can sing anyone else's song.
M i n n i e says, Don't frown, Frankie. It makes your face dark and G o d knows it's dark enough. Some day you'll have a little sister and you can sing that song to her.
You'll have a little sister, surely. There's a new baby soon, a little girl, and they call her Margaret. We all love Margaret. She has black curly hair and blue eyes like M a m and she waves her little hands and chirps like any little bird i n the trees along Classon Avenue. M i n n i e says there was a holiday in heaven the day this child was made. Leibowitz says the world never saw such eyes, such a smile, such happiness.
She makes me dance, says M r s. W h e n D a d comes home from looking for a job he holds Margaret and sings to her: In a shady nook one moonlit night A leprechaun I spied. With scarlet cap and coat ofgreen A cruiskeen by his side. Oh, I laugh to think he was caught at last, But the fairy was laughing, too. H e walks around the kitchen w i t h her and talks to her. H e tells her h o w lovely she is w i t h her curly black hair and the blue eyes o f her mother.
H e tells her he'll take her to Ireland and they'll walk the Glens o f A n t r i m and swim i n L o u g h Neagh. H e ' l l get a j o b soon, so he will, and she'll have dresses o f silk and shoes w i t h silver buckles.
T h e more D a d sings to Margaret the less she cries and as the days pass she even begins to laugh. She laughs and we all laugh. T h e twins cried when they were small and D a d and M a m w o u l d say Whisht and H u s h and feed them and they'd go back to sleep. B u t when Margaret cries there's a high lonely feeling in the air and D a d is out o f bed i n a second, holding her to h i m , doing a slow dance around the table, singing to her, making sounds like a mother.
W h e n he passes the w i n d o w where the streetlight shines i n you can see tears on his cheeks and that's strange because he never cries for anyone unless he has the drink taken and he sings the Kevin Barry song and the R o d d y M c C o r l e y song. N o w he cries over Margaret and he has no smell o f drink on h i m. M a m tells M i n n i e MacAdorey, He's i n heaven over that child. H e hasn't touched a drop since she was born.
I should've had a little girl a long time ago. O c h , they're lovely, aren't they? T h e little boys are grand, too, but you need a little girl for yourself. M y mother laughs, For myself? Lord above, i f I didn't nurse her I wouldn't be able to get near her the way he wants to be holding her day and night. M i n n i e says it's lovely, all the same, to see a man so charmed with his little girl for isn't everyone charmed with her?
The twins are able to stand and walk and they have accidents all the time. Their bottoms are sore because they're always wet and shitty.
Angela's ashes : a memoir
They put dirty things i n their mouths, bits o f paper, feathers, shoelaces, and they get sick. M a m says we're all driving her crazy. She dresses the twins, puts them i n the pram, and Malachy and I take them to the playground. The cold weather is gone and the trees have green leaves up and down Classon Avenue. We race the pram around the playground and the twins laugh and make goo-goo sounds till they get hungry and start to cry.
There are two bottles i n the pram filled w i t h water and sugar and that keeps them quiet for awhile till they're hungry again and they cry so hard I don't k n o w what to do because they're so small and I wish I could give them all kinds o f food so that they'd laugh and make the baby sounds.
They love the mushy food M a m makes i n a pot, bread mashed up i n milk and water and sugar. M a m calls it bread and goody. If I take the twins home n o w M a m will yell at me for giving her no rest or for waking Margaret.
We are to stay i n the playground till she sticks her head out the w i n d o w and calls for us. I make funny faces for the twins to stop their crying. I put a piece of paper on my head and let it fall and they laugh and laugh. I push the pram over to Malachy playing on the swings with Freddie Leibowitz. Malachy is trying to tell Freddie all about the way Setanta became Cuchulain. I tell h i m stop telling that story, it's my story. Follow the true experiences of Frank McCourt as he struggles to support his family during his youth.
Help students enjoy the novel with different activities to help comprehend the difficult vocabulary words. Students are asked to predict what will happen in the novel prior to reading it, by exploring the literary device: Answer true or false questions about the family's move to Ireland.
Describe the valuable lesson Mr. Halloran teaches Frank and the boys. Recall the moment Frank experienced pure joy. Describe Frank's relationship with his father and religion, and explain how this changes throughout the novel.
Deconstruct a character by identifying whether Frank is a good or bad person and providing proof from the text to support this claim.
Aligned to your State Standards and written to Bloom's Taxonomy, additional crossword, word search, comprehension quiz and answer key are also included. About the Novel: Angela's Ashes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir about the author's own childhood and young adulthood.
Frank the eldest son of Malachy and Angela McCourtvividly describes the hardships endured by his family. First living in Brooklyn, the family moves back to Ireland after the death of Frank's sister, Margaret. There, the family lives in poverty, as Frank's father spends all the welfare money, leaving little for food and clothes.
Frank's father finally gets work in England, but neglects to send money home to his struggling family, leaving Frank to support them. The story continues with Frank searching tirelessly for a job, settling in at the post office. Eventually, Frank is able to earn enough money to return to America, hoping to start a new life. What would you like to know about this product?
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Search by title, catalog stock , author, isbn, etc. Angela's Ashes - Literature Kit Gr. Paul Bramley.