Study Guide

Angela's Ashes Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

  • Once in Ireland, the McCourts take a long bus ride to Toome in County Antrim, where Grandpa and Grandma McCourt live.
  • Grandpa and Grandma McCourt convince Malachy Sr. that there isn't any work in Toome. They have, however, heard that the IRA is giving out money to ex-IRA soldiers in Dublin.
  • So, back on the bus they go, except this time they're heading to Dublin.
  • Unfortunately for the McCourts, the IRA can't find Malachy Sr.'s name in the records of service, which means he won't be getting any money.
  • The McCourts find themselves desperate: no money, no food, no shelter.
  • The local police take pity on them and allow them to stay the night at the police barracks.
  • The police get busy raising money throughout the night for the McCourts.
  • Thanks to the money the police collected, the McCourts are able to buy train tickets to Limerick.
  • So, over the river and through the woods, to Grandma Sheehan's house (in Limerick) we go!
  • Grandma Sheehan's a little nicer than Malachy Sr.'s family and although she doesn't let them live with her, she sets them up in a tiny apartment.
  • Malachy Sr. is finally able to go on the dole which means he'll receive financial assistance from the government, but the amount of money he gets is barely enough to pay for food, rent, and clothing.
  • So Angela asks for help from the local charity organization, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and gets a docket (like a voucher), which allows her to buy food for the family.
  • Soon after, little Oliver gets sick and dies.
  • Malachy Sr. drinks away the pain caused by his son's death while Angela tries to find a way to put food on the table.
  • Frank and Malachy Jr. begin Leamy's National School where corporal punishment is still very much in vogue, while Eugene is having a hard time understanding that his twin brother is dead.
  • Even though Frank and Malachy Jr. are wonderful older brothers and try really hard to help Eugene, Eugene dies six months after Oliver.
  • This is getting more depressing by the second.

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