ANgelas ashes Paper

This essay has a total of 1359 words and 6 pages.

ANgelas ashes

Page 1

How Frank Survived

Poverty is something that many of us will never have to face. I never could have survived
growing up the way Frank McCourt did with the constant dampness of things, an alcoholic
father, religion shoved down my throat and family members dying left and right. It makes
you wonder how he and his family did it. Was it that he was happy with what he had or was
it more than that? Frank may not have had many materialistic items or a very good father
but he did many things that helped him along the way. Stories of heroes and other
fiction, father figures and dreams all kept him going and not giving up hope.

Literature in any form was something that seemed to bring Frank comfort and enjoyment.
Once he said that Shakespeare was like having jewels in his mouth. The words of books had
more meaning to Frank than most would have gotten out of it. Books allowed Frank to go
off to different places. “It’s lovely to know the world can’t interfere with the inside of
your head”. (202) They allowed much time to pass and gave

him things to think and dream. Yet while he was still poverty stricken and adults wanted
to rule his whole life, including his mind, he always had what he has learned and the
stories he read kept to himself that no one could take away.

When Frankie was very young his father told him the story of Cuchulain. The reason Frank
liked this story so much was because it gave him a connection to his father. “He finishes
the story and lets me sip his tea. It’s bitter, but I am happy there on his lap”. (21)
Frank called it “his” story and protected it as if it truly was. He pushes his brother
down and beats up Freddie Leibowitz because he thinks that they tried to steal it from

Another story that his father told him that gave him comfort was the Angel on the Seventh
Step. Frank treats this imaginary angel like a friend. He tells the angel about his
problems, dreams and fears. He is able to talk the angel about the things he doesn’t feel
he can talk about with his mother and father. He imagines this angel speaking to him and
comforting him by saying things like “Fear not”.

Beyond Frank’s world of imagination and books were all of the male figures in his life.
Frank’s father was never around much so he didn’t receive any type of guidance from him.
Frank said some where in the novel that his father was like two different people; the
father in the morning filled with stories and the father who would come home drunk making
the children promise to die for Ireland.

Although he had the negative side that Frank had to see it was still turned out to be
positive for Frank because it allowed him to learn to be the type of person he wanted to

Even though no one could take the place of a true father, Frank’s Uncle Pa Keating came
close. Since Uncle Pa Keating never had children of his own, he treated Frank like a son.
He showed Frank affection and gave him things that Frank’s father never did. Frank
looked up to Uncle Pa Keating because he brings home the wages, holds a steady job and can
sit at the South pub and not come home drunk. He is everything Frank wants in a father and
everything his father is not.

Uncle Pa Keating shows Frank not only affection but also how the world works. He shows
Frank that everything doesn’t always have to be as serious as everyone says. Uncle Pa
Keating gives Frank outlooks for his future. He tells him things like that if Frank takes
the post office exam his mind will be dead by the time he is thirty and he encourages him
to go to America and make something of himself. Most of all Uncle Pa Keating, unlike
Frank’s father, is the type of person he does want to be. “…He doesn’t give a fiddler’s
fart what the world says and that’s the way I’d like to be myself.”(116)
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