One of the strongest things in this world is the love that forms between a father and his son. Many boys grow up with the desire to be just like their fathers but for Frank McCourt having an alcoholic father causes him to grow up with the mentality of being the opposite of him. In Angela’s Ashes the interesting relationship between Frank and Malachy creates positive and negative impacts on Frank’s life.
At times, Frank despised his father for drinking the dole money but he knew that in the morning he would have his father to himself. Sitting on his father’s lap and hearing stories about Cuchulain was what made Frank feel loved. Although Malachy managed to make his son feel special, the sufferings that were caused by him made negative impacts on Frank’s life.
One of the positive impacts that Malachy created for Frank was the Cuchulain story. Cuchulain symbolized Malachy’s fatherly side which only happened when he was sober. Cuchulain was something that Frank shared with his father which made it extremely special for him.
He hold on to the memories he spend with his father and no matter how mad Frank was at Malachy he knew that the best thing to do was hold his anger in and not put their relationship in danger, “My heart is banging away in my chest and I don’t know what to do because I know I’m raging inside like my mother by the fire and all I can think of doing is running in and giving him a good kick in the leg and running out again but I don’t because we have the mornings by the fire when he tells me about Cuchulain and DeValera and Roosevelt and if he’s there drunk and buying pints with the baby’s money he has that look in his eyes Eugene had when he searched for Oliver and I might as well go home and tell my mother a lie that I never saw him couldn’t find him” (McCourt 185).
Frank knows his father’s addiction is what made the family suffer. The special moments that Frank created with his father was what stopped him from kicking him in the leg. Although Frank saw his father drink his little brother’s money, it was Frank’s love toward his dad that made him walk away from the pub.
Malachy’s addiction affected the way Frank solved his problems. Since Malachy was always out in pubs it created a negative impact on his relationship with Frank. When Frank got troubled for hearing the word “piss” he turned to the Angel on the Seventh Step for help instead of his father.
Malachy’s drinking often causes Frank to distance himself away from him during times where he was in need. Since Frank noticed that Malachy’s fatherly side only came out when he was sober he decided to seek help somewhere else. When he received help from the angel, Malachy felt the feeling of being denied by his son, “All right.
Tell the priest if you like but the Angel on the Seventh Step said that only because you didn’t tell me first. Isn’t it better to be able to tell your father your troubles rather than an angel who is a light and voice in your head?” (McCourt 125). Malachy ruined the relationship he had with his son the moment he picked alcohol over his family. He turned his back to his family when they needed him the most.
Frank was affected by his father’s addiction at an early age. Watching his father come home at night shaped Frank’s perspective on life. He often referred Malachy as the Holy Trinity because of his various attitudes, “I think my father is like the Holy Trinity with three people in him, the one in the morning paper, the one at night with the stories and prayers, and then the one who does the bad thing and comes home with the smell of whiskey and wants us to die for Ireland” (McCourt 210). Frank always found a way to have pity over his father but when he move to England, Frank no longer felt pity over him but anger.
The moment Malachy stepped foot in England was the moment where Frank grew anger towards him. He was furious at his dad for being selfish and causing his family to go through starvation. The negative impact that Malachy created caused Frank to get a job as a telegram boy. Since he was a lot older his mentality started changing towards his father.
He no longer looked as his father as the one who made him feel special through the Cuchulain stories but as a selfish father who spent money on drinks. Malachy’s bad actions caused Frank to grow up with the mentality of being the opposite of his father. The bad example that Malachy demonstrated benefited Frank because it showed him what a man is not suppose to do.
Courtney from Study Moose
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