What are some similarities and differences between Frank McCourt's memoirs Angela's Ashes and 'Tis?My goal is to create a Venn Diagram on the similarities and differences to Angela's Ashes to 'Tis...

What are some similarities and differences between Frank McCourt's memoirs Angela's Ashes and 'Tis?

My goal is to create a Venn Diagram on the similarities and differences to Angela's Ashes to 'Tis by Frank McCourt

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Angela's Ashes chronicles what had to be one of the most miserable childhoods in the history of memoirs, that of Frank McCourt, growing up in England and Protestant-hating Limerick, Ireland in the 1930's and 1940's.  His father was an alcoholic who drank away virtually every dollar he brought in, and three of McCourt's younger siblings died over the years due to illnesses and disease that probably were a function of the horrible living conditions the family endured.  Although the family's situation was usually desperate, miraculously McCourt manages to weave some hilarious episodes into the tale, giving the reader much needed comic relief from time to time, and sometimes injecting humor into even the most routine of observations:

When I look back on my childhood, I wonder how I survived at all,” the book’s second paragraph begins in a famous passage. “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.

People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years.”

'Tis picks up at the end of Angela's Ashes, when McCourt arrives in New York City, where he was actually born before the family returned to Ireland.  He takes janitorial work at the Biltmore Hotel, and is fairly miserable until being drafted into the Korean War; after the war, the GI Bill becomes his ticket into an education at New York University, where he becomes an educator and eventually works his way up to teaching creative writing at one of New York City's most prestigious high schools, Stuyvesant.  McCourt had always told his students that their lives were the best source material for creative writing, and practicing what he preached, he finally begin writing his memoirs in his sixties; although all three of his memoirs received critical acclaim, Angela's Ashes was by far the most successful and won a Pulitzer Prize.

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