Discussion Topics

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What is the connection between alcoholism and poverty in Frank McCourt’s memoirs?

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How do Hollywood films condition McCourt’s perception of the United States?

Is the dysfunctional nature of the McCourt family a product of the poverty engendered by the Great Depression or the result of other causes, such as the nature of Irish society in the early twentieth century?

What is the relationship between the Catholic Church and Irish patriotism in McCourt’s memoirs?

Do the members of the McCourt family love one another? If so, how do they show it? If not, how can the reader see that?


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Current Biography Yearbook. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1998. Offers a comprehensive look at McCourt’s life and times, connecting his life experiences to his writing.

Gray, Paul. “Frank’s Ashes.” Time 154, no. 4 (1999). Brief, uncomplimentary review of ’Tis.

Hubbard, Kim, and Mary Huzinec. “Pluck of the Irish.” People 47, no. 2 (1997): 81. Profiles McCourt’s life from Limerick to New York and tells how his past shaped his future.

Jones, Malcolm. Newsweek 133, no. 2 (1999): 52. Contains quotes from McCourt concerning his memories of Limerick and the filming of the movie Angela’s Ashes.

Jones, Malcolm, and Ray Sawhill. “From ‘Ashes’ to Stardom.” Newsweek 130, no. 8 (1997): 66. Informative biographical material and quotes from friends and former students from New York and Limerick. Reflections on McCourt’s success.

Mark, Mary Ellen. “Frank McCourt.” People 48, no. 26 (1997): 82. Describes how Angela’s Ashes came to be written. Includes some commentary by McCourt.

Schleier, Curt. Biography 2, no. 3 (1998): 82. Profiles McCourt’s life and his maturation as an author. Tells how he found his voice for the story.

Secunda, Victoria. “Why You Must Get Your Story Out.” New Choices 54 (1997): 37. Offers some biographical data and McCourt’s reflections on the importance of truth and the need to recognize the story found in everyday life.

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