Angela's Ashes is a narrative story about a young boy, Frankie McCourt, who is forced to live in poverty stricken Ireland. Frankie's life is filled with emotional heartache, filth, hunger, despair, and death. Frankie had to begin dealing with death at a young age, due to the horrible conditions of his environment. In the short eighteen years of his life he had seen three siblings, a grandmother, a girlfriend, his boss, and his father (symbolically) all die. Even though death is difficult and painful, the effects are not always negative.
The first deaths that Frankie McCourt has to learn to deal with are the deaths of his three siblings. His infant sister, Mary Margaret, is the first of the children to die; this also is the opening scene of the film. The next child to die is one of the twin boys, Oliver, and then a short time later the other twin, Eugene, also dies. All of the deaths of his brothers and sisters happen before Frankie is seven years old, but Frankie still is effected. After the first twin dies, Frankie is shown in the cemetery praying to God and saying he doesn't know why they can't keep the children with them. This shows the innocence but also the understanding that his brothers and sister are not coming back.
The next death, although symbolic, is the death of his father. Frankie's father, Malachy McCourt, has difficulty with several things: he can't get a job, he is an outsider, he drinks too much, and his in-laws have no respect for him. All of these things make it hard to maintain any reasonable lifestyle. So when Malachy decides to go to London to work, the family is thrilled with the thought of finally having a steady income. He promises to send home money every week and so the family eagerly sends him off with their fingers crossed that he will do what he has promised. Disappointed, but not surprised, the McCourt family did not receive any money from Malachy.