Important Quotations Explained
I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. 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
. . . 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 the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.
master says it’s a glorious thing to die for the Faith and Dad says
it’s a glorious thing to die for Ireland and I wonder if there’s
anyone in the world who would like us to live. My brothers are dead
and my sister is dead and I wonder if they died for Ireland or the
Faith. Dad says they were too young to die for anything. Mam says
it was disease and starvation and him never having a job. Dad says,
Och, Angela, puts on his cap and goes for a long walk.
know when Dad does the bad thing. I know when he drinks the dole
money and Mam is desperate and has to beg . . . but I don’t want
to back away from him and run to Mam. How can I do that when I’m
up with him early every morning with the whole world asleep?
turns toward the dead ashes in the fire and sucks at the last bit
of goodness in the Woodbine butt caught between the brown thumb
and the burnt middle finger. Michael . . . wants to know if we’re
having fish and chips tonight because he’s hungry. Mam says, Next
week, love, and he goes back out to play in the lane.
on deck the dawn we sail into New York. I’m sure I’m in a film,
that it will end and lights will come up in the Lyric Cinema. .
. . Rich Americans in top hats white ties and tails must be going
home to bed with the gorgeous women with white teeth. The rest are
going to work in warm comfortable offices and no one has a care
in the world.
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