• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the presentation of the theme of religion in "Angela's Ashes"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explore the presentation of the theme of religion in "Angela's Ashes" Throughout the novel, religion is presented as being of extreme importance in Irish society, influencing the beliefs and actions of the characters. I will attempt to highlight the several factors which I believe make up the presentation of religion in "Angela's Ashes". From the beginning of the book, religion is said to make up a large part of the unhappy childhood Frank suffered. The following quote shows the extent of Frank's sentiments: "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood, is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood" The quote above portrays the crescendo of negative emotion, describing the worse possible scenario of a childhood, adding finally "Catholic" to signify the most terrible part of the childhood Frank suffered. This indicates that religion played an important role in a person's life and in the society presented by the book. A person's life was structured to follow the ideals of their religion. From the tone of the quote however, I am led to believe that according to Frank, being a Catholic lead to suffering in life and that therefore, religion guided lives. What is shown later in the book is that the misery Frank refers to is not only poverty and living standards, but the Catholic way of life, restricting freedom and opportunity in life. ...read more.

Middle

The basic sentiment shown by both quotes is that a person could be sent to "rot in hell" for any mistake, regardless of its severity. An element of superstition is shown by the quote, yet its impact on the people, and on Frank is tremendous. However, regardless of the fact that Frank and other characters in the book are taught how to behave, they defy the rules of the church. The following quote sets out the quota referring to sexual behaviour, as found in the Bible: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, which means impure thoughts, impure words, impure deeds, and that's what adultery is, Dirty Things in General" Yet Frank defied this "code of conduct" by 'interfering' with himself and committing the act of 'excitement'. His reaction to sleeping with Theresa, willingly and knowingly, is: "She's crying and I'm crying for I don't know what's happening. I'm riding to heaven I'm falling off a cliff and if this is a sin I don't give a fiddler's fart" This is an example of where the ideas put forward by religion are not obeyed in practice, indicating that while religion seemed to be a major part of life, people still defied it. The second expectation of the church is put forward by the quote, said to Frank's mother by his father in order to pressure her into sleeping with him when she refused: "The good Catholic woman must perform her wifely duties ...read more.

Conclusion

Through the novel, it becomes clear that religion transcended from a belief into a strict way of life, and that things which were believed to be rites of passage, such as Communion and Confirmation, were viewed as important by the children because they gave them an opportunity to eat and to enjoy themselves, rather than take part in a holy occasion. The father, the grandmother and even the schoolmaster use religion as a threat in the novel. In each occasion where a person is threatened their actions are given a significant consequence, such as "rotting in hell" and "facing eternal damnation", all serious consequences to often minor mistakes. This indicates that it was often too easy to sin in the Catholic religion, and that almost anything a person did, even impure thoughts, could be considered sins. Frank makes a comment about being "an official sinner" after his First Communion, indicating that he considers sinning to be a natural part of life, and that being an "official" sinner allows him to confess, and therefore gain forgiveness from the Church. Religion has been presented through threats made to force people into doing something often against their will. It has been presented as inspiring fear in people and therefore directing their lives. Overall, many characters, including Frank, have shown only a superficial belief in Catholicism, although through the fear they have they live their lives in accordance with the church, yet often defying its basic principles, such as sex before marriage, theft and adultery. ?? ?? ?? ?? Marija Pecar 11SM ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Places of Worship section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Places of Worship essays

  1. The role of religion in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

    Moreover, he continued to be a hypocrite to his religion by treating Santiago's body like unworthy property, and this is shown when he "pulls outs his intestines and throws it to the dogs." All of this certainly shows the amount of respect the Church has upon a body and its soul.

  2. Studies of Religion

    equivalent of a Christian Priest or Minister, but this is certainly not the case. The term Rabbi is literally translated from Hebrew as "Teacher", and as such Rabbi's take on a more educator type role with their expertise on the "Halakah'9 and their depth of knowledge on Jewish scripture meaning

  1. The Seventh-day Adventist ReligionThe Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) religion is a fast growing religion and ...

    Similar to most churches stand on homosexuality; is that the SDA religion consistently condemns homosexuality as a sin. Gay candidates are not allowed to be ordained as pastors. Many Seventh-day Adventist have the same values as Quakers. Many Seventh-day Adventists refuse to enter the army as combatants, but participate as medics, ambulance drivers, etc.

  2. ''Luther, more than anyone, was to blame for the schism.''

    He had condemned the church in failing to teach people to live Christ-like lives, but instead teaching them to seek salvation through the practise of 'empty formalities'. Thus support for reform was already fairly widespread pre 1517, and for these people Luther's Ninety-Five Theses were a mere stepping stone in their stance, and increasingly reinforced their tough approach.

  1. Freedom to Worship: An Analysis of Freedom of Religion in the United States and ...

    "Is its primary effect to either inhibit religion or to further it?" (3) "Does the law excessively entangle the government with religion?" If the answer to any of the above questions is a resounding "yes" then if so, the law is in question is immediately rejected.

  2. The process whereby religion looses its influence over social life and society is known ...

    (Greely and Ward, 2000: 586) And so if religion is seen as institutional then it seems that it is becoming increasingly irrelevant in contemporary Irish society. If the degree of religiosity in Ireland is the degree to which the church plays a part in everyday life then there is evidence of its increasing irrelevance.

  1. A Monks life - Is the site or the sources booklet more useful in ...

    Also to add to the comfort, hired servants were actually managing the estates, rather than the monks. This shows us the way in which even the monks of this monastery, which were originally supposed to be of people devoted only to sole worship have fallen into the 'trap' of comforts, all due to the power they received with wealth.

  2. Popular Beliefs and Religion In Tudor-Stuart Society

    The Church was a subject of authority. Ordinary people depended upon the Church for their uncertainties in hope that the Church would help them, and their souls in heaven. Therefore people obeyed and followed the rules of their Church for assurance. Great confusion arose during the time period of 1558-1667.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work