Memoirs and "Angela's Ashes" Analytical Essay by Nicky

Memoirs and "Angela's Ashes"
This paper looks at the subjective problems of memoirs, concentrating on the writer's perspective in "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt.
# 146098 | 1,071 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Dec 15, 2010 in Sociology (General) , Literature (General) , Communication (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


In this article, the writer points out that on the surface, Frank McCourt's memoir "Angela's Ashes" is a true-life story of the American dream-an Irish family comes to America, and the sons of the family pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, in the form of the author Frank McCourt, and his brother Malachy McCourt. THe writer discusses that according to many literary critics controversies about the 'truth' of memoirs call into question not just the truth of specific memoirs but the way so many contemporary memoirs, including McCourt's, purport to accurately depict a community or point in time. The writer maintains that all memoirs, to some degree are lies because of their intense subjectivity, and in insisting upon the truth of his recollections, McCourt's memoir falls far short of creating historical accuracy. The writer concludes that at best, he can only convey what he as an adult remembers in an emotional fashion, of his previous life.

From the Paper:

"Just like an author of fiction, he performs an Irishman who has made good in America and uses narrative tools to create that identity, as well as the identity of his mother. He renders his mother--his poor, oppressed mother, the mother of dead children and the wife of an irresponsible alcoholic--very different than the far stronger and resilient, and more socially connected individual witnessed by community members like Steinfels. McCourt's command of the collective voices of the community through reconstituted dialogue and also by chronicling their perceptions of his mother (as seen through his eyes) gives his memoir and authorial tone that is entirely literary in nature but which has been believed as history.
"In an interesting facet of the narrative technique noted by James B. Mitchell, because McCourt does not perform a interior childhood identity whose survival is in question ..."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Forbes, Shannon. "Performative Identity Formation in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes: A Memoir." Journal of Narrative Theory: JNT. 37.3 (2007): 473-496,498. Research Library. ProQuest. February 26, 2009. Document ID: 1431531861
  • Mitchell, James B. "Popular autobiography as historiography: The reality effect of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes." Biography. 26.4 (2003): 607-624. Research Library. ProQuest. February 26, 2009. Document ID: 538352061

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Memoirs and "Angela's Ashes" (2010, December 15) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Memoirs and "Angela's Ashes"" 15 December 2010. Web. 07 June. 2023. <>