Bread.jpgIn Angela’s Ashes, hunger is a constant theme used by Frank McCourt. The McCourts, like many Irish families during this time period, never have enough food to satisfy the entire family.. The food that they do manage to obtain is barely edible. Frank’s father, Malachy, is an alcoholic who drinks the family’s money away at the pubs and bars. He believes that the dole is meant to support his family and that the daily wage he earns by working all day is meant for only him. Malachy comes home from the bars singing about his patriotism for Ireland. This is petty compared to the never ending hunger of the family. Frank says, “[F]ood on the table is what [my mother wants] wants, not suffering for Ireland.” Frank begins to associate the feeling of being full with the feeling of being an independent member of society. Frank craves the feeling of freedom and increased self-esteem brought through being able to eat the foods that he wants. Frank is disgusted by beggars and would rather steal food than act needy.
Eggs are used symbolically in Angela’s Ashes. In Ireland, few families are able to afford eggs. Frank grows up associating eggs with financial security much like he associates the feeling of being satiated with the feeling of being a succelful, independent member of society.