Comparison between the novel Angela’s Ashes and one of these films: Lost in Translation OR In America. How are they similar?

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jameadows eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Both the book Angela's Ashes and the movie Lost in Translation are stories about the strength of the human spirit and about the ways people can find hope and faith even in the face of loss and suffering. In the movie Lost in Translation, Charlotte, a young American woman, feels ill-at-ease while staying in Tokyo, as she is growing more distant from her husband. Another guest at her hotel, a middle-age actor named Bob Harris, is also facing a disintegrating marriage, and the two bond over their suffering. From their pain comes friendship and connection.

In Angela's Ashes, the young Frankie faces misfortunes, as his family suffers the loss of several children and they live in dire poverty after having moved back to Ireland from New York. However, Frank is able to find a love of literature and books while recovering from illness in a Catholic hospital. This love of literature later enables him to become a writer. Therefore, from his illness comes his introduction to, and love of, books and writing.

In both the movie and the book, the characters are caught between cultures. Frank McCourt's family returns to Ireland from New York, but Frank dreams of going back to New York. In Lost in Translation, Bob and Charlotte, who are both American, feel like outsiders in Japan and develop a friendship in part because they are far from home.

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clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Similarities between Angela's Ashes and In America:

Both Angela's Ashes and the movie In America are classic immigrant stories.  Though the general plot lines, characters, and even setting of each (aside from the fact that both families end up in America) are different, a few themes remain the same.

First, both stories deal with the general difficulty of being an immigrant in America.  Both of the main families in each story are Irish.  They are poor and struggling to find success, comfort, and an identity in their new lives.

Another common theme between the stories is the theme of hope.  Despite the fact that the main character in both the novel and the movie give up or are in general confusion about theirreligious faith (for a time), both maintain a sense of hope throughout their respective stories that things will get better.  The turning away or lack of understanding about the traditional religion that was so pervasive in their heritage but the maintenance of hope without religion heightens the tone of American pride.  It emphasizes the common thread that wove most American immigrants together, which was, the idea that America itself would provide a better life.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Although in Angela's Ashes, the family reverse immigrates back to Ireland from New York, both the McCourt memoir and the movie In America, about immigration to New York, share similarities.

First, both are about Irish families, and both are told from the point of view of a child in the family. In both cases, the families end up in terrible situations: the McCourt family faces dire poverty in Ireland, and in New York, the Sullivans end up living amid drug addicts and AIDS victims in a rundown slum apartment in Hell's Kitchen.

While Angela's Ashes is more darkly humorous than In America, both are animated by the innocence of their narrators and the strong resilience and agency both display in coping with their grim environments. Both stories, despite all the horrors the families face, show characters with a great deal of energy and fortitude in coping with adversity, and both end on an upbeat note.

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