Humility and Dignity in Literature

Topic: CultureMulticulturalism
Sample donated:
Last updated: April 24, 2019

A great American novelist, poet and actress once said, “Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still retain your dignity.” This quote by Vanna Bonta states people’s wrong assumption on the idea pride. In his story, Frank McCourt use characterization to demonstrate the theme of misplaced pride by pointing out the importance of pride in the Irish society during his childhood.

Looking at the development of the McCourt family in Limerick, Angela’s Ashes is a memoir about arrogance of pride and dignity. Outstanding points are Malachy’s point of view about dignity, Frank as a dancer and social class and status in Limerick. First of all, Malachy states that it is below his dignity to beg or to carry anything through the streets. “Even if Dad came he wouldn’t be much use because he never carries anything, parcels, bags, packages. If you carry such things you lose your dignity. That’s what he says.” (p.

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98) Malachy keeps on teaching his boys about how a man should be acting. Although both Frank and Malachy Jr. understand their harsh reality, they let him speak in his own delusions. Furthermore, Malachy insist that his sons will follow his steps in order to be prideful and well regarded in the streets. “He tells Malachy and me that when you grow up you have to wear a collar and tie and never let people see you carry things.” (p.98) Later in the book, Malachy once again displays his strong refusal to let down his pride because he was too dignified to ask for new boots for the boys (p.105).

Poverty is an element that is regarded as a shame in Limerick back in McCourt’s childhood. It is once again emphasized on page 98 where Frank, Malachy Jr. and their mother were walking home with their Christmas ingredients. Malachy regards pride in a different level.

As he grew up not having what he wanted, he kept being in denial of his reality, being at the bottom of the social class. He wanted to be respected by the others so he figured that if he …

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