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Allen Ginsberg & Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes

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Presentation on theme: "Allen Ginsberg & Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes"— Presentation transcript:

1 Allen Ginsberg & Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes
Eebs Chan, Malorie Garrett, Katy McGinness, Krystal Madkins, Mo Rhim

2 Poetry and Prose There are specific attributes of poetry that make it distinct from prose, which is one reason why we chose to read some poetry and then a novel.

3 Poetry: The Good and the Bad
Artistic and Lyrical Some consider more beautifully written than prose Bad Hard to understand Hard to read “School Structure”—forced to over analyze poetry

4 Allen Ginsberg Allen Ginsberg was a beat poet
Beat poetry has it’s own rhythm Anti-pop culture Humorous Words and subject resonate with you-Beautiful when read aloud:

5 “The Sunflower Sutra” “Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? When did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower!And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not!”  

6 Genre: The Memoir What is a memoir? A memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing, usually shorter in nature than a comprehensive autobiography. The memoir, especially as it is being used in publishing today, often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments in one's past, often including a contemplation of the meaning of that event at the time of the writing of the memoir. The memoir may be more emotional and concerned with capturing particular scenes, or a series of events, rather than documenting every fact of a person's life

7 Memoir: Expectations The intimacy of the memoir immediately gives the reader a sense or an expectation of a narrative of human experience and emotion. More than just facts strung together, a reader expects a memoir to portray emotional events and personally significant experiences

8 Angela’s Ashes: Synopsis
Frank McCourt’s memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” tells his story of growing up surrounded by poverty and despair in the slums of Ireland. The death of his siblings, his father’s abandonment, and abuse from family and neighbors are some of what plagues McCourt’s childhood. McCourt, however, manages to recount such things without waxing poetic. The poverty, the hunger…the constant abysmal conditions that McCourt endures as he grows up are all described in a simple, straightforward manner that allows the reader to feel sadness but also appreciate the humor and humanity in much of what he endures. The spark of hope in times of despair, the humor during times of tragedy, and the idea that it is possible to persevere which are seen in “Angela’s Ashes” are woven together to help in creating part of the book’s beauty.

9 Synopsis continued The beauty of “Angela’s Ashes” also stems not only from McCourt’s style of writing but rather from the reader being able to relate to what McCourt narrates. Whether it’s the realistic imperfection of characters (McCourt’s father, Malachy, for example, can be a good father to his children but he’s also an irresponsible drunk), off-beat family, or memories of sexual awakening, there’s something to which readers can relate.

10 Style/Appeal Not the writing itself, but rather, what the style creates: The style of the book is not necessarily what creates the beautiful experience in that it is not the writing in particular what we found appealing. Rather it is the style that allows the reader to become immediately connected with the human experience, the honesty and the rawness attached to the narrative. The absence of superfluous or extravagantly constructed prose lent the writing a certain bareness that allowed for the seemingly real and honest emotion and experience shine through the writing.

11 Style and Appeal continued
In this book, it was not the beautiful passages of prose that created beauty in the writing, but it was the accessibility of the actual experience and emotion created by the stark and bare bones writing style that connected the reader to the intense human experience and emotion in the narrative. Ultimately it is this connectivity and access that makes the reading/experiencing of the text beautiful.

12 Excerpts from Angela’s Ashes
“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years. Above all- we were wet." (McCourt 11)

13 Excerpts Continued "I know Oliver is dead and Malachy knows Oliver is dead but Eugene is too small to know anything. When he wakes up in the morning he says, Ollie, Ollie, and toddles around the room looking under the beds or he climbs up on the bed by the window and points to children on the street, especially children with fair hair like him and Oliver. Ollie, Ollie, he says, and Mam picks him up, sobs, hugs him. He struggles to get down because he doesn't want to be picked up and hugged. He wants to find Oliver. .. Malachy and I play with him. We try to make him laugh...He doesn't say Ollie anymore. He only points. Dad says Eugene is lucky to have brothers like Malachy and me because we help him forget and soon, with God's help, he'll have no memory of Oliver at all. He died anyway." (McCourt 82) 

14 Excerpts Continued "[Uncle Pat] says there's no food in the house, not a scrap of bread, and when he falls asleep I take the greasy newspaper [that held Uncle Pat's fish and chips] from the floor. I lick the front page, which is all advertisements for films and dances in the city. I lick the headlines. I lick the great attacks of Patton and Montgomery in France and Germany. I lick the war in the Pacific. I lick the obituaries and the sad memorial poems, the sport pages, the market prices of eggs butter and bacon. I suck the paper till there isn't a smidgen of grease.  I wonder what I'll do tomorrow." (McCourt 296)  

15 Excerpt and explanation
“You might as well.” (McCourt 150) When the boys ask to go out and play, the mother simply states “You might as well” and without having to explain with unnecessary prose the sense of defeat or despair felt, McCourt is able to convey all of the emotion and the struggle with four simple words spoken by the mother. Throughout the novel, McCourt does not even use quotation marks, adding even more to the sense of a “bare” writing style that is not weighed down by anything other than the simplest and most direct methods to convey the emotion and honest experience

16 Conclusion Though Ginsberg and McCourt have different and distinct styles of writing, both are able to give a sense of beauty or an experience of beauty.

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