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In life people learn from their mistakes and sometimes, like Frank McCourt, from hard times that, while painful, can be of the greatest benefit from among their experiences. It shapes them into the people they are and brands them, leading them to be high achievers in life. Moreover, their achievements are more remarkable than those whose childhood were happy; they were marked by adversity and their drive to overcome and exceed expectations. A good life was not handed to them, but rather earned.

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Frank McCourt in Angela’s Ashes described the hard times and pain in his life, pain that no person should have had to endure. After losing his baby sister Margaret and twin brothers Eugene and Oliver, to disease and bad parenting, McCourt went through terrible times himself. Regullary subject to malnutrition and neglect, he came down with the typhoid fever, spending weeks in the hospital, and an unrecognized, persistent eye infection that came close to blinding him.

McCourt grew up learning his life’s ugly lessons as a child. From his birth, McCourt was left in an environment in which he had to learn everything himself, the only thing being taught to him was his religion, which, as a result of its hypocrisy, he would reject. Thus, it may be reasonable to say that McCourt mentally matured faster than most boys his age, eventually becoming the real male figure in the family, his alcoholic father being hopelessly irresponsible. As he grew older he learned to compensate, to help himself and his family with his father gone to England to work and drink up his earnings.

When McCourt was eleven years of age, he had already started to earn money by reading to Mr. Timoney and later helping Mr. Hannon delivering coal. This was how McCourt learned to pursue his life’s intentions, through hard work (and an occasional act of deviousness). McCourt as a child that he could only depend on himself, when denied acceptance to a secondary school and by being denied acceptance as an altar boy, both by his church. His mother then gave him some wise words when she said,You are to never let anyone slam the door in your face again. Do you hear me?

From that point on in McCourt’s life, he never forgot those words. It was through this he had come to realize that the one thing being offered him as being an aid and a solace, his religion, that which had rejected him not once, but twice, had no real intent in its mission to help the poor like him and he was on his own.

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