Study Guide

Angela's Ashes Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

  • The postman brings the McCourts a letter from Malachy Sr. that says he'll be arriving two days before Christmas and that he's bringing gifts.
  • The family makes their way down to the train station on the night of his arrival but Malachy Sr. is nowhere to be seen.
  • He arrives the next day with a black eye, no front teeth, and empty pockets. But at least he brings a gift: a half eaten box of chocolates.
  • He stays for their pretty meager Christmas dinner but leaves right after they've finished eating their chocolates.
  • The McCourt boys are finding it harder than ever to maintain their dignity when they have to walk around town with trousers that are too short and socks full of holes.
  • Angela likes to bring home poor women and children she finds on the streets and give them tea and bread while Michael brings home homeless dogs and old men.
  • One of the old men that Michael brings home leaves them a going-away gift: lice.
  • And that's the end of the poor old men, dogs, women, and children.
  • Frank spends his Sunday night listening to plays on the radio at Mrs. Purcell's.
  • Back at home, the McCourts are struggling to make ends meet. They're using the interior walls of the house as fuel and the rent is four weeks behind.
  • The rent man evicts the McCourts after the ceiling caves in; the McCourts have nowhere to turn.
  • Grandma offers a solution: move in with Gerard "Laman" Griffin, Angela's cousin.
  • Laman's house is a pigsty. Angela and the boys spend the next day cleaning up the house.
  • Laman has a specific routine he follows: go to work, get drunk, come home, and fall asleep.
  • He's also not very nice to Angela and has her empty out his chamber pot (gross) because he can't be bothered to do it himself.
  • On the plus side, he lets Frank use his library card, but only if he doesn't bring home naughty books.
  • Sadly, Grandma Sheehan got sick on the night the McCourts were evicted and is now dead.
  • Angela's worried that all her family is dying or disappearing since Malachy Jr. is now in Dublin at the Army School of Music.

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