Answer the following questions or supply the information asked for
Supply the complete title of the work
Give the name of the author
What kind of text is it
When was it written?
What is(are) the place(s) of action? (i.e. the setting of the story)
The story of Frank McCourt starts in New York. That’s where he was born and where he lived the first six years of his life. When Frank is six years old he moves to Limerick, Ireland. In a miserable, poor neighbourhood he spends most of his life.When he is sixteen years old, he goes back to New York.
What is the time of action?
(how much time elapses between the beginning and the end of the story?)
Frank McCourt was born in 1931 and at the beginning of the book Frank is 3 years old. So the beginning of the book is in 1934. At the and of the book Frank is 16 years old, so the time between the beginning and the end of the book is 13 years.
Who tells the story (from whose point of view is the story told?)
Who are the main characters and what kind of people are they?
Frank McCourt: Frank McCourt is story-teller. He’s a pious, quiet and smart boy. He’s the oldest of three brothers. His dream is to go back to America when he’s grown-up.
Malachy McCourt: Frank’s younger brother. He goes to the same school as Frank. He’s a bit a wild monkey and a little more agressive than Frank.
Alphy McCourt: The youngest brother of Frank. He’s a baby the whole book long.
Malachy McCourt: Frank’s father has the same name as Frank’s brother. He’s a nice quiet man, but he has never a job because he always loses it being a alcohol addict.
Angela McCourt: Frank’s mother is a quiet, unhealthy woman. She has to beg all day, because otherwise the family wouldn’t have any food.
Give a brief summary of the story
This absorbing, sad, humorous evocation of an impoverished Irish Catholic childhood describes the first nineteen years of Frank McCourt's life--from his birth in Brooklyn, New York; through the family's emigration four years later to his mother's roots in the slums of Limerick, Ireland--and ends with McCourt's return migration to America, a young man on his own. McCourt sets the scene in his first lines: "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. . . the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters . . . . "
Born during the Great Depression, the author leads us in lilting present-tense narrative through the struggle and occasional small joys of daily life with siblings, school friends, and the adults who circumscribe his life. He is an alien in his parental homeland, the oldest child of a father whose background in "the North" engenders continual suspicion, and a mother (Angela of the book's title) who had never known her father and whose own mother is as miserly with her affections as with offers of economic assistance.
The hardships in Limerick are so profound that starvation is a way of life. "Consumption," pneumonia, and typhoid are rampant; children go to school barefoot or in pieces of flopping rubber; stealing is a necessity. Frank's tiny sister and twin brothers die. Above all, there is "the drink"--the endemic disease of Irish fathers who spend their weeks' wages in the pub on Friday night.
Frank leaves school to earn money for the family (his father had joined the war-time wave of work in England, but continued to drink his earnings away), and to save for a return to America. Blessed with verbal skills and stamina, through stealth, charm and struggle he manages to save what is needed to book ship's passage to America. As the Hudson River flows by en route to Albany, the ship's Wireless Officer says to Frank, "My God, . . . isn't this a great country altogether?" Answers Frank in the single phrase comprising the last chapter, " 'T. is."
What is the theme of the story according to you?
Give arguments for your answer
The theme of the book is trying to escape from poverty and misery. They have always problems and they’re doing nothing but trying to escape from it.
Answer the following questions and give arguments for your opinion
What did you think of the story? Did you like or dislike it?
I think it was a beautiful story. It was interesting to read how a family could survive with such a few posessions. Moreover the story has been written in simple words and short sentences, what made it easy to read.
Were the characters convincing or not?
Yes, they were. The characters were all different from eachother. Moreover there were no very special characters in, but every character was really realistic and nobody did impossible things.
Did the story move you in any way?
Yes, it did. It made me realize how poor Ireland still was just about sixty years ago. It also made me realize how strong the Catholic Chuch in Ireland was. And I saw that Irish people in that time really hated the English. Something we still see in Northern Ireland today.
Would you recommend it to your friends?
Yes I would. The book has got many pages, but because it’s easy written, I read it in just a few days. The book is also great to read, because it shows you Ireland of the 1930’s and 40’s very clear.
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