Chapters four and five (pg 113 - 150)
affliction (114)a state of pain, distress, or grief; misery
ineffable (119)incapable of being expressed or described in words
relic (122)a surviving memorial of something past
martyr (138)a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion
There are two themes going on within these two chapters. The first theme I noticed was how one should set a good example for the people younger than them. This is shown when Mam is trying to tell her children to not smoke but she is smoking right in front of them. The reader sees this when McCourt writes, "They tell us every day we should never smoke, it's bad for your lungs, it's bad for your chest, it stunts your growth, and they sit by the fire puffing away" (138). The kids will never listen to them if they are smoking right in front of them and not setting an example.
Another theme in the memoir is that the "higher" class will always be better than the "lower" class. Frank's father wants him to be an altar boy so he brings him up to Stephan Carey, who decides the jobs, and tells him that Frank knows Latin and is ready to be one. Stephan Carey tells him there is no room after he saw what Frank looks like. This is clearly stated when mam says, "'Tis class distinction. They don't want boys from the lanes on the altar. They don't want the ones with scabby knees and hair sticking up. Oh, no, they want to nice boys with hair oil and new shoes that have fathers with suits and ties and steady jobs" (149).
Starting in these two chapters, Frank is starting to become a bad boy. The first time you see this is when he was supposed to bring dinner from his grandma to Bill Gavin, a man working in the lime kiln. Frank's grandma was going to give him sixpence to do so. On Frank's way to bringing the dinner, he decides to try some and ended up eating the whole thing. The second time Frank was a "bad" boy was when his mother wanted him to start taking dancing lessons. She gave him sixpence to bring down to the lessons and give to the teacher. Instead, Frank took the money and went to the cinema with one of his friends.
Summary of key events within the chapters-
-The boys at school get ready for their First Communion day
-Frank "talks" to an angel on the 7th step of the house and asks for advice
-Frank gets a job bringing dinner to someone and he decides to eat it instead
-Mam and the father get fake teeth because theirs are rotted from smoking. Malachy and Frank try them on and they get stuck in Malachy's mouth and they have to go to the hospital to get them out. While there, the doctor notices Frank has to get his tonsils taken out.
-Frank starts dancing lessons and after one class he starts to use the money to go to movies against his mom's will