The Theme of Hope in Angela’s Ashes and The Street
“Angela’s Ashes” and “The Street” are both descriptive short stories that use vivid imagery to paint a picture in your mind. The use of similes and adjectives put you in the midst of the stories and help you better understand the characters and plots. Both stories have an under theme of hope and although they have a touch of sadness and poverty I feel as though there is also hope, hope for the future and what lies ahead and hope in humanity.
There is hope in “Angela’s Ashes”, the children take care of each other. The oldest son looks out for the siblings, Malachy, Michael and Alphie and although they don’t have much and are hungry they drink their tea, eat their breakfast with sugar and laugh while Alphie smears the sugar all over his face. This shows hope even through the dark and the pain and the hunger there is something to laugh about and find joy in. In “The Street” “Lutie Johnson looks up at the rusted sign after walking through the cold, blustery, dirty town and she reads it rapidly, three rooms, steam heat, parquet floors, respectable tenants”. ( Ann Petry) Reasonable. Showing that even through the cold and grime that there’s a bit of light at the end, hope for the future.
Imagery is used in “Angela’s Ashes” that shows hope for the future. “The oldest son is walking to get bread for his family, he’s walking past people’s windows seeing the cozy homes, warm fire places, happy families, warm food”. (“Frank McCourt ) Then he spots a van pulling away which left crates of beer and lemonade (which is his mother’s favorite) and is able to take some. There’s a bread van outside of Kathleen O’Connell’s shop and although, he was going to ask her to give her some bread there was a chance she would say no. “He’s able to take some bread for his family as well and even though stealing is wrong and he knows it he was able to provide some food and some relief to his siblings”( Frank McCourt). In “The Street” Imagery is used when she is walking to her destination, the cold November wind was blowing all sorts of trash around, dirt and debris. You feel bad for her being out in the cold dirty street but at the end when she finally reaches her destination it was all worth it she is given some relief and hope.
“Angela’s Ashes” and “The Street” are both very descriptive short stories with many different hidden meanings: love, poverty, social issues, illness, etc. but the theme that I find most present and meaningful is the theme of hope. It resonates throughout both stories and without it both stories would be too depressing. “Angela’s Ashes” shows resiliency, persistence and perseverance. The oldest brother looks after his entire family and small occurrences happen so that they have food to eat and a full belly, at least for a day. “The Street” uses vivid imagery and expressive adjectives to paint a picture and set the scene in your head. The woman in the story, Lutie, doesn’t have an easy time walking to her destination, but when she finally arrives it was all worth it. Stories like these prove that even through tough times, people have the ability to persevere and as long as you hold on to the little piece of hope, nothing is ever as bad as it seems.
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