The Man of the House
The book Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt is about a young man that retells his childhood, when he and his family move from America to Ireland. Throughout the book the three main characters are Angela Mc Court (Frank’s mother), Malachy Mc Court (Frank’s father), and himself. All three of the characters play a very important role in the book, and they also affect each other. The most complex character of the book is Frank. Frank is not only the protagonist of this book, but he is also able to express all of his feelings in all the situations he goes through, throughout this book.
Frank is the most variegated character in this book. He is the one that has to deal with not only his problems but everyone else’s. As the book continues the protagonist, Frank is growing up to be a man by himself (324). Usually boys have fathers that help them grow up into mature men, but Frank never was able to have that. His father was out drinking, not worrying what was going to happen with his family, and being irresponsible and selfish, which is what happens to a person when they have an addiction. When his father abandons the family, the weight is then put on Frank to take care of his siblings and mother. He is then put in the spot of “the man of the house”. Frank doesn’t mind getting a job at all, in fact he rather get a job then get an education (261). He likes the idea of working because when you work you see the result right away, which is money, but when getting an education your reward is more long term than short term.
He sees this as a responsibility, but he also looks forward to being a man, and bringing home the wages his father was never able to do (265). Frank goes through this struggle throughout the book, becoming a man without his father, but he also has a hard time with his religion. Frankie, at this point, goes back and forth with Catholicism. His whole family is catholic and he believes in God, but there has been so many times where the Catholic Church has shut the doors on him. All of the experiences that Frank has had with the church do not make him think of his Irish religion as a positive thing. Frank mentions that when he is out being the messenger boy the poor people of Limerick are the ones who will tip him exceptionally well, the wealthy people on the other hand, the nuns, and the priests do not tip at all (315). Mentioned throughout the book are the sins that Frank makes, all of the sins he makes guilt him, and they just get worse as the time goes on.
Frank, as any other protagonist, goes through a long journey that makes him the man that he grows into by the end of the book. He goes through many obstacles, which is why I think he is the most complex character. Frankie makes the most progress, he has a goal that he makes early in the book, and that is to go back to America, which he later on succeeds at doing. He keeps determination that comes from within, but from also people around him that believe in him and what he is capable of doing.