29 October 2014
Effects of Poverty on McCourt Family
Poverty affects families in many negative ways that affect individuals, or in the McCourt family’s case, their entire family is affected by poverty. Poverty is demonstrated throughout the novel Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. This issue of poverty has many effects on the family such as the desperation they go through to try and complete a task that most other families are able to do so simply. Also, the family has different views on life than others who are more developed. In addition, the McCourt family who is going through poverty makes other people have different views on them in society. In Angela’s Ashes, Frank, the son shows the struggles he and his family has to go through and showed how anything is possible to overcome.
One way that poverty affects the McCourt family is the way their view on life is different from others. They live a different life than most because they live in poverty. This causes the family to see things in a different perspective than others who are more privileged and wealthier because they tend to not take anything for granted and take whatever they can get. They take into account the little things in life more so than the larger things. Although they cannot afford many things they wish they could, they still manage to work with what they have and live a life. They come together and work hard as a family to get things done. Their different views are shown within the book. “You have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you cannot make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. It is your house of treasure and no one in the world can interfere with it.” (McCourt, Page 131) This quote shows that they believe no one can change the way they think of something because it is their own decision to think about something the way they do and no one can change that. It gives them motivation, especially Frank when he decides to take the initiative to help his family out and acts as a man instead of a boy when his dad leaves. He takes on a bigger and more responsible role for the family. Another way that poverty affects the McCourt’s is that they need to pick coal off the road and beg for essentials to live because of how poor they are. They are desperate for anything and beg for the essentials needed for the family to survive. The family begs for money, picks coal off the road, and find garbage that may be able to be used for their fire burning. The family is desperate for all of this and it is evident throughout the whole book. “Even the poorest of the poor don't go out on Christmas Day picking coal off the road...The poor are all at home having pig's head or maybe a goose and we have the Dock Road to ourselves. We find bits of coal and turf stuck in cracks on the road and in the walls of the coal yards. We find bits of paper and cardboard that will be useful in starting the fire again.” (McCourt, Page 60) From this quote, one can see the family’s desperation through the family as they scramble and take anything that could be used in order for them to survive. The last way that poverty affects the McCourt family is by the way society views them. People going through poverty are viewed with much less respect than others. People in poverty have negative social views attached to them. Many children get bullied because of what they wear or how they look because most children come from families who cannot afford what others can. In Angela’s Ashes, the children went to school dressed in rags and as a result,