Study Guide

Angela's Ashes The River Shannon

By Frank McCourt

The River Shannon

Malachy Sr. describes the River Shannon as the scourge that plagues the lives of all those who live in Limerick. He even blames it for taking away his twin sons and calls it a "killer river," but the River Shannon also provides water and according to Angela "the Shannon sings" (8.145; 2.211). Like the weather, the River's an uncontrollable force of nature that doesn't abide by anyone's rules. It gives life by watering the fields and providing drinking water to the town, but it also takes life by overflowing with rainwater and causing sickness as a result.