An Irish Microcosm of the World Sep 17, 2009
Frank McCourt's "Teacher Man" was given to me by a friend at a time when, late in life, I decided I HAD to teach English Literature. I knew I was in for a struggle but I was confident that I loved my subject so much I was positive that I could make my students love it, too. I failed. I was at a school where cheating was common, no one had the desire to learn, teachers were not respected, and there was no discipline. I think the giver of this gift was trying to show me that I was not the only one who had problems with students! Too bad I didn't have the stomach to tough it out.
McCourt is a fine writer with that Irish melancholy that makes one identify with him on many levels.
It is interesting that, of all the movies I showed my classes in an attempt to get them to see that themes are eternal, they loved the screenplay of "Angela's Ashes" the best. This other work by McCourt will break your heart, yet he tucks in enough humor to keep you from killing yourself. His descriptions are without parallel, and the Irish village is a microcosm of the world--his, ours, and anybody's. Due to lots of begging, I showed the movie twice.
Please read this. It's a wonderful book and is way easier to get through than James Joyce. Plus, the reader has no doubt about what he's reading, while dipping into Joyce takes a priest and a seeing eye dog.