Study Guide

Angela's Ashes

by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes Characters

Characters

Mr. Benson
Mr. Benson is a master at Leamy's National School. Fierce and short-tempered, he browbeats the boys and hits them with his stick. As Frank puts it, ‘‘He roars and spits all over us all day.’’

Theresa Carmody
Theresa Carmody is a seventeen-year-old girl whom Frank meets when he is delivering telegrams. Theresa has red hair and green eyes; she is dying of consumption. She and Frank make love several times, but she dies within weeks. Frank is heartbroken.

Paddy Clohessy
Paddy Clohessy is Frank's friend when they are seven years old. Paddy has six brothers and one sister, and the family is extremely poor. He goes to school barefoot, dressed in rags. In one incident, he and Frank rob an orchard and drink milk directly from a cow. Later, Paddy moves to England and works in a pub.

Declan Collopy
Declan Collopy is four years older than Frank. According to Frank, "He has lumps on his forehead that look like horns. He has thick ginger eyebrows that meet in the middle and hang over his eyes, and his arms hang down to his kneecaps.’’ Declan is a bully who is in charge of enforcing attendance at the Confraternity that Frank joins.

Peter Dooley
Peter Dooley is known as Quasimodo because he has a hump on his back like the hunchback of Notre Dame. He is five years older than Frank. Frank says of his appearance, "His red hair sticks up in all directions. He has green eyes and one rolls around in his head so much he's constantly tapping his temple to keep it where it's supposed to be.’’ Quasimodo cultivates an English accent and wants to be a newsreader with the BBC. He dies of consumption.

Mrs. Brigid Finucane
Mrs. Finucane employs Frank to write threatening letters to people who owe her money.

Philomena McNamara Flynn
Philomena is a cousin of Frank's mother. She is a large, intimidating woman who helps to arrange for the McCourt family to leave Brooklyn and return to Ireland.

Delia McNamara Fortune
Delia is Philomena Flynn's sister and a cousin of Frank's mother. Like Philomena, she is large, ‘‘great breasted and fierce.’’ With her sister, she arranges for the McCourts to return to Ireland.

Grandma
Grandma is Angela's mother and Frank's grandmother. She has "white hair and sour eyes'' and is known for her religious devotion. She does her best to help the McCourts but spends much of her time complaining. She dies of pneumonia when Frank is thirteen.

Laman Griffin
Laman Griffin is Angela's cousin. She and her sons go to live at his house after their own is destroyed. Laman is a former officer in the Royal Navy who works as a laborer for the Electricity Supply Board. He spends much time in bed reading and smoking, and he and Angela become lovers. Sometimes he gets drunk, and in one incident he becomes angry with Frank and beats him up.

Bridey Hannon
Bridey Hannon is the McCourts' neighbor. She is unmarried and lives with her mother and father. She smokes a lot and chats with Angela by the fire for long periods.

John Hannon
John Hannon is Bridey Hannon's father. He makes a living from delivering coal, but his legs are diseased, and he has trouble continuing to work. Frank gets a job helping him.

Mr. Harrington
Mr. Harrington is an Englishman whose wife has just died. He gets angry with Frank when the boy delivers a telegram, and he tries to get Frank fired from his job.

Aunt Aggie Keating
Aggie is Frank's aunt. She is large and has flaming red hair; she works in a clothing factory. Unable to have children of her own, she is jealous of her sister Angela. When the McCourt boys stay at her house, she is abusive, calling Frank ‘‘scabby eyes.’’

Uncle Pa Keating
Pa Keating is Frank's uncle. His skin is black from shoveling coal into the furnaces at the Limerick Gas Works. He is a veteran of World War I, in which he was a victim of poison gas. He has a fine sense of humor, and Frank...

(The entire section is 1698 words.)