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Angela's Ashes | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • August 19, 1930

    Francis McCourt is born in Brooklyn, New York, to Angela Sheehan and Malachy McCourt.

    Chapter 1
  • Four years later

    After the birth of four boys and death of the infant Margaret, the McCourts move back to Ireland.

    Chapter 2
  • Later that year

    Frank begins school in Limerick as the McCourts live in a single room on Windmill Street.

    Chapter 2
  • 1935

    Oliver and Eugene die six months apart.

    Chapter 2
  • 1935

    The McCourts move to Roden Lane, where Michael is born soon after.

    Chapter 3
  • 1940

    Frank works by helping Uncle Pat deliver papers and reading to Mr. Timoney.

    Chapter 7
  • 1941

    Frank falls ill with typhoid fever and discovers Shakespeare during his hospital stay.

    Chapter 8
  • Late December 1941

    Malachy Sr. goes to England to look for work and starts distancing himself from his family.

    Chapter 9
  • 1942

    While Angela is in the hospital with pneumonia, Malachy Sr. returns for the last time.

    Chapter 10
  • 1942

    Frank gets a job delivering coal for Mr. Hannon, who treats him well.

    Chapter 11
  • 1943

    After the McCourts burn the wall boards for heat, they move in with Laman Griffin.

    Chapter 12
  • 1943

    Frank gets into a fight with Laman and moves in with Uncle Pat.

    Chapter 13
  • 1944

    Frank starts work as a telegram boy, wearing new clothes from Aunt Aggie.

    Chapter 15
  • Later in 1944

    Frank falls in love and loses his virginity to Theresa Carmody.

    Chapter 15
  • Mid-1946

    Frank gets a job writing collection letters for Mrs. Finucane.

    Chapter 16
  • August 1946

    Frank decides not to take the post office exam.

    Chapter 16
  • August 18, 1946

    Frank has his first pint of beer with Uncle Pa Keating.

    Chapter 17
  • August 19, 1946

    Frank confesses his sins and is absolved, feeling free.

    Chapter 17
  • August 1949

    Frank steals money from the deceased Mrs. Finucane and throws her ledger into the river.

    Chapter 18
  • Early autumn 1949

    Frank has saved up enough money for passage to America and leaves.

    Chapter 18

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Frank McCourt, the first-person-narrator, begins his memoir with a quick overview. His parents meet and get married in N... Read More
Chapter 2 When the McCourts return to Ireland, they first stay in Northern Ireland with Malachy Sr.'s parents who have neither ext... Read More
Chapter 3 To escape the memories of their dead children, the McCourts move to a new house in the lanes, right next to the filthy l... Read More
Chapter 4 Mikey, an older boy in the neighborhood, is the man in his house despite his ailments —he is cross-eyed and has epilepsy... Read More
Chapter 5 Many families in town do not speak to each other often because of age-old religious or political grudges. Some families ... Read More
Chapter 6 A new geometry teacher, Mr. O'Neill, appreciates questions from his students. Every day he peels his apple and promises ... Read More
Chapter 7 Nothing has changed at the McCourt household: Malachy Sr. keeps drinking and "comes home singing and getting us out of b... Read More
Chapter 8 On the night before Confirmation, Quasimodo, so called because of his hunchback, lets his friends see his sisters naked ... Read More
Chapter 9 Frank's mother does not want more children. Because the only birth control available is abstinence, Malachy Sr. is upset... Read More
Chapter 10 Angela gets sick. There is no food in the house, they have no more credit anywhere, and they can't go to their grandmoth... Read More
Chapter 11 Frank goes through his mother's trunk in search for material for a soccer uniform. He uses part of a red flapper dress t... Read More
Chapter 12 Malachy Sr. is due to come home at Christmas, but when Angela and Frank go to the train station to meet him, he does not... Read More
Chapter 13 Frank bargains with Laman to borrow his bicycle for a trip with schoolmates; Laman agrees if Frank cleans his chamber po... Read More
Chapter 14 Frank cannot start his job as a telegram boy before he turns 14. He lives with his Uncle Pat but has to steal food in ri... Read More
Chapter 15 On his birthday, Aunt Aggie purchases a set of new clothes for Frank and gives him enough money for a bun and tea. "Fat ... Read More
Chapter 16 Frank delivers a sympathy telegram to Mr. Harrington, who is British and whose wife has just died. Mr. Harrington makes ... Read More
Chapter 17 On the night before his 16th birthday, Frank goes with Pa Keating to have his first pint. The men talk about the atrocit... Read More
Chapter 18 Three years pass. Frank has kept working for Mrs. Finucane writing collection letters and dropping off money at the chur... Read More
Chapter 19 In response to the officer's question: "Isn't this a great country altogether?" Frank simply says "'Tis." Read More
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