In Angela's Ashes, Chapter 10, how does the narrator know Angela is sick?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Angela's Ashes, Francis McCourt (the narrator) tells of the time that his mother, Angela, became sick.

In Chapter 10, Frank relates how he and his brothers know something is wrong with their mother when she makes no move to light a cigarette for herself. Instead, she sits by the fire, shivering, and moans for some lemonade. With no money for food or lemonade, Frank is eventually forced to steal some bread from Kathleen O'Connell's shop and two bottles of lemonade from crates of beer and lemonade outside South's pub.

When Michael unwittingly tells a rich lady about their troubles, Malachy scolds his brother. Soon, Guard Dennehy, who is in charge of school attendance, knocks on the door of the McCourt home. Frank tries to fend Dennehy off by claiming that all of them probably have the same deadly disease their mother has. Even though he tells Dennehy that this disease could kill, Dennehy is unperturbed and knocks in the door. He makes his way in and tells Frank to go and get his grandmother and his Aunt Aggie. Eventually, the doctor comes to take Angela to the hospital; she is diagnosed with pneumonia. Meanwhile, Frank and his brothers go to stay with their Aunt Aggie until their mother returns from the hospital.

teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Another indication to the narrator that his mother is sick is Angela's inability to sleep that night. She tosses and turns and moans for water. The boys are kept awake by the sounds of her bed creaking with her 'twistings and turnings.' Angela alternates between bouts of delirium and moments when she begs for lemonade. She does not get up to take the older boys to school. Frank resorts to stealing any food he can find so that his brothers do not starve.