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Summary & Analysis
Malachy McCourt (Sr.)
Important Quotations Explained
Full Book Quiz
Suggestions for Further Reading
How to Write Literary Analysis
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Full Book Quiz
Full Book Quiz
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. Why did Angela and Malachy McCourt marry in New York?
They were in love.
Malachy thought that Angela was rich.
Angela was pregnant.
Both were so drunk that they did not know what they were doing.
. Why does Angela’s family initially view Frank’s father with suspicion?
The Sheehans are wary of Malachy’s northern ways and “odd” manner.
They think Malachy abuses Angela and is violent toward his children.
Malachy insults them at every opportunity.
It is apparent that Malachy cheats on his wife.
. When Malachy comes home drunk, what does he tell his sons they must do?
Show respect to their mother
Go out and earn money to pay for his drinking habit
Pray to the Virgin Mary
Die for Ireland
. Why is Nora Molloy’s husband, Peter, famous in Limerick?
He has fits and is an expert on sex.
He is known as the champion pint drinker of Limerick.
He can read backward while standing on his head.
He always buys everyone a drink.
. What image strikes Frank when he finds his father in the pub on the day of Eugene’s funeral?
The sight of Malachy’s pint of black Guinness resting on Eugene’s white coffin
His father’s ashen face as he drinks his pint
His mother sobbing outside as his father drinks away the money for the burial
The sight of the barman crying in sympathy over Malachy’s bereavement
. How many families use the public lavatory outside the McCourts’ home in Roden Lane?
Just the McCourts
. Why does Frank’s Grandma fret that she has “God in me backyard”?
Because she is visited by an archangel in the middle of the night
Because Frank tells her that he’s seen the Messiah standing by the fence
Because she is delusional
Because Frank threw up his Communion wafer in her backyard
. In what way is Grandma’s lodger Bill Galvin unusual?
He does not drink Guinness.
He is kind to Frank.
He is a Protestant.
He advises Malachy to curb his drinking habit.
. Why does Angela think Frank is rejected from becoming an altar boy?
She ascribes it to class distinction and social prejudice.
She insists that Frank did not know enough Latin.
She thinks Frank is too ugly.
She thinks Malachy’s reputation as an alcoholic has blighted Frank’s prospects.
. What elements of his stay in the hospital does Frank enjoy?
The wonderful views from his window
The fact that all the nurses treat him with respect
The opportunity to sleep all day and discuss his problems with Seamus
The clean sheets, good food, and books
. Why does Angela think that the women in her street have a “low-class” mentality?
They tell everyone how much money their husbands are earning in England
They call out to their children to tell them what they are having for dinner
Angela senses that they dislike her, which makes her defensive and critical
Frank told Angela that he overheard them gossiping about his father
. After which country do the McCourts nickname their second floor?
. Why does Frank find it difficult to condemn his father for his drinking?
Frank remembers the cozy mornings he spends with his father in front of the fire.
Frank realizes that his mother can always beg for more money at the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Malachy gives Frank a “Friday Penny” every week, which buys Frank’s silence.
Frank understands that his father needs to drown his sorrows over the deaths of Oliver, Eugene, and Margaret.
. Why does Mr. Hannon have to retire from his job delivering coal?
The sores on his legs restrict his movement.
His horse dies.
Frank’s eyesight deteriorates, and Mr. Hannon decides that he cannot do the job by himself.
He dies of consumption.
. How does Frank spend his fourteenth birthday?
He goes to the movies and buys himself fish and chips.
Aunt Aggie buys her nephew new clothes for work, and Frank stands by the River Shannon and cries.
Angela throws Frank a big surprise party to which she invites all of his school friends.
Frank visits the hospital to read to Mr. Timoney.
. What is Frank’s father’s first and only Christmas present to his family?
New boots and coats for his sons
A book of Irish folktales
A turkey for their Christmas dinner
A half-eaten box of chocolates
. Why are the McCourts evicted from their home in Roden Lane?
For insulting the rent collector
For owing four weeks’ rent and destroying an internal wall
For not cleaning the public lavatory next to their home
For trying to blackmail their landlord
. Why does the protagonist leave Laman Griffin’s house to stay with Ab Sheehan?
He is repelled by Laman’s poor standards of hygiene.
Angela throws Frank out of the house for being disrespectful.
Frank is angry about being cheated out of the use of Laman’s bicycle and is also disgusted by the fact that Laman is having sex with his mother.
Michael tells Frank that Laman is stealing money from Angela.
. Why does Frank not take the post office exam?
He thinks he would fail it.
He arrives late and is not allowed into the exam room.
Frank decides to sacrifice the security of a boring job in order to follow his dreams.
Frank gets fired before he can take the exam.
. Why does Mr. McCaffrey tell Frank that he can only go up in life?
Because Frank has the right attitude about delivering newspapers
Because Frank always does what he is told
Because Frank is witty and highly intelligent
Because Frank lives in a lane, the lowest standard of residence
. What does a priest tell Frank after the protagonist confesses to hitting his mother and damning Theresa Carmody to hell?
He says that Frank is beyond redemption.
He says that God will overlook his sins if Frank gives money to the Catholic church.
He states that God forgives him and so Frank must forgive himself.
The priest asserts that no one is perfect and that Frank’s sins do not matter.
. What is printed on the page that Frank is ordered to tear from all copies of the magazine
John O’ London’s Weekly
An article on contraception
An article on abortion
A picture of a woman in sexy underwear
An article on euthanasia
. What does Frank do with Mrs. Finucane’s ledger of debts after his employer dies?
He hands it over to the police
He throws it in the trash
He takes it with him to America as a personal discouragement to becoming greedy
He throws it into the River Shannon
. What does Frank observe on his last night in Limerick?
A lunar eclipse
A shooting star
A massive fireworks display celebrating his departure
. To what does Frank compare his arrival in New York?
A Shakespearean drama
An opera by Wagner
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