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Paper 2 - Free Response

Paper 2 - Free Response - Worrell 1 Chad Worrell LIT2081 MW...

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Worrell 1 Chad Worrell LIT2081 MW 5:15-6:30 “Above the Ashes” “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 worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood” (McCourt 11). Frank McCourt’s riveting memoir, “Angela’s Ashes”, depicts his poverty-stricken childhood while growing up in Brooklyn, New York and his homeland of Limerick Country, Ireland. Plagued with invariable hunger, disease and death, a severely depressed mother, and a ruthless alcoholic father, Frank was forced at a young age to take the reins of the family and help relieve them of their hell on earth situation as best he could. From youth until his adult passage back to the United States, Frank personally dealt with the suppression of the ‘unconscious other’ of England as well as Ireland, and dealing with the cliché stereotype of the well-known “Stage Irishman”, that enabled others and himself to humanize the actual people of Ireland. Declan Kiberd’s definition of the “unconsciousness” of England refers to that of the English attempt to create a barrier to distinguish the difference between themselves and the citizens of Ireland. Simultaneously, they were also fashioning somewhat of an ego for their own race and culture by portraying the Irish as nothing but countrified savages and drunkards. The author reasons this theory in several approaches and styles when attempting to understand his
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Worrell 2 hard knock family situations as well as his entire race of fellow Irishmen. The most renowned example of this portrayal takes place following Frank’s first job as a telegram boy. During his regular deliveries one day, the narrator comes across a young English gentleman, who had recently lost his wife to the never-ending tuberculosis that continually plagued Ireland during this time period. From first sight, the Englishman, Mr. Harrington, already interprets himself to be of a higher social standing compared to young Frank based on his outward appearance. Harrington refers to the Irish people as a “…race of ghouls…Barely weaned before [they] clamor for the whiskey bottle, the pint of stout” (327) that have killed his wife with the tuberculosis that feeds upon the residents of Limerick. However, once the narrator recalls that the Harrington’s belonged to the Protestant Church, he is no longer phased by the words of judgment. From birth, Frank was raised to believe that the only true religion was that of Roman Catholicism. When he goes in to view the body of Mrs. Harrington he claims, “Mrs. Harrington, you look lovely in the bed. But you’re a Protestant, already doomed, in hell…” (327). At the same time he is being negatively evaluated by the English, he in return is following the exact procedure of scorning them as well. This in turn also proves what the narrator continues to observe through his life: not
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Paper 2 - Free Response - Worrell 1 Chad Worrell LIT2081 MW...

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