Study Guide

Angela's Ashes Drugs and Alcohol

By Frank McCourt

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol use in Angela's Ashes is never good. It's always compulsive and detrimental. But it's also part of the Irish culture in Limerick. In fact, according to many of the characters it's considered unmanly not to drink. So, what is it about alcohol that appeals to the men in McCourt's memoir? Well, for starters, life is hard. So hard in fact, that the men need a temporary escape in the guise of alcohol. Unfortunately, most of the men, including Malachy Sr., get hooked on escaping and are then unable to deal with the real world.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. How does having an alcoholic father affect Frank's decision when it comes to consuming alcohol?
  2. What's the link between drinking alcohol and manliness?
  3. The only time Angela gets any rest is when she smokes her Woodbines. Does that make her smoking okay?
  4. How does Ireland's drinking culture differ from America's drinking culture?

Chew on This

Alcoholism is the one true cause of all the suffering that goes on in Angela's Ashes.

Poverty leads the men to drink. It's because their situations are so hopeless that they escape by drinking.

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