Savior from the Gray Essay

Submitted By sherriecbuckner
Words: 916
Pages: 4

Sherrie Buckner
Mrs. Grover
Honors English
29 October 2012
Savior from the Gray The horrifying poverty of Ireland in the 1930’s was an incredibly terrible time in the country’s history, and thousands of families were banished to the slums of society. They were forced to perform whatever tasks necessary to survive. For many citizens, religion was the only available escape from the damp, gray days of their lives. The characters in Frank McCourt’s autobiography Angela’s Ashes find themselves in the same retched situation with their faith as the only beacon of light in the otherwise bleak and gray days. This autobiography was written about McCourt’s poverty-ridden childhood growing up in pre-World War I Limerick, Ireland, and his family’s struggles to stay afloat with a chronically alcoholic father and a seriously diseased mother. Francis remains true and innocent despite being surrounded by sin and horrible influences. His strong connection with the divine influences his choices and continues to strengthen as he grows older despite multiple rejections from the church and ultimately rescues him from the crippling grasp of alcoholism. Francis stayed faithful to God throughout his tumultuous stay at Windmill Street. Francis sat each day on the seventh step of their house, praying to the Angel that he believed delivered his younger brothers and sisters, even after they were taken back to heaven: “I know he is there because the seventh step feels warmer than the other steps and there’s a light in my head” (McCourt 125). Francis escaped the stabbing pains of famine and abuse by confessing his fears to the Angel on the seventh step. Even after his father criticized this prayer as silly, he remained faithful and worships on a daily basis. Even as the light fades and he can no longer hear the voice, he continues to cling to his beliefs: “I still talk to the Angel on the seventh step, but the light is gone and I hear no voice” (156). Francis’ unwavering devotion to the angel despite his sickening situation demonstrates how strongly connected religion was to his survival, mentally and physically. Without his prayer, Francis would have slowly sunk into sin that would have escalated until the day he died. Without his connection with the Angel, Francis would have blamed the tragic deaths of his brothers on his other family members, just spreading the hate instead of offering it to God. As Francis matures, his connection with the divine continues to grow stronger. Francis spends his days in the library reading about the lives of saints: “I don’t want to spend my life reading about saints, but when I start I wish the rain would last forever” (285). This immense volume is his only escape from his uncle’s tormenting and disgraceful treatment of his mother. Francis spends days on end immersing himself in the gory lives of martyrs and he begins to take away valuable lessons about perseverance and applies them to his life. Francis’ saint-like actions continue to startle his family and friends, “I think, Mrs. McCourt, that you might have a future priest on your hands” (286). Although the librarian has lost complete faith in the next generation of “scoundrels,” she is impressed and surprised at Francis’ devotion to the lives of saints. Francis’ actions and way of treating others set him apart from all of the hatred and disease of the mind that surrounded him. Even as he ages, Francis continues to have a strong connection with God and rises above the…