Typhoid Fever
The Irish and the English
• Originally Ireland existed as a country in its own right with its own
language. The vast majority of its people were Catholic.
• Around 1170, Henry II of England declared himself king of Ireland as
well as the rest of Great Britain. Ireland was brought under British
control with much bloodshed.
• Over the following centuries, Ireland was colonized by the British (as
was America) and the Irish were ruled by them against their will.
• In the 1600s, King James I offered land in Ireland to Protestant
settlers from Scotland if they would farm it and control the country.
• This land was forcibly seized from the Irish who were now not
allowed (by law) to own land anymore. Catholics were also no longer
allowed to vote, be elected to public office, work for the government,
practice their religion or even speak their own language.
• If you were an Irish Catholic at this time, how would you feel about
the English (British) and Protestants in general?
“Typhoid Fever” from Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Learning objective: To review and develop understanding of setting,
mood and tone in a narrative.
Tasks:
1. Answer questions 1 – 5 on page 204 before summarizing the piece in one
or two sentences. (2 points per question/summary. 12 points total)
2. The setting of a story refers to time and place. Where does Typhoid Fever
take place and when? (2 points)
3. The setting in turn affects the lives and behavior of the characters. Think
of at least three words that describe the background of Frankie’s early
life? Refer to the background on page 193. For example, poverty,
degradation etc. Give reasons for your word choices by putting them into
full sentences. (6 points total: 2 points per observation)
For example:
Frankie would have lived in poverty in the slums of Limerick where few
people had jobs and no-one had any money.
4. Think of at least two words that describe what life in the fever
hospital would have been like for Frankie and Patricia and put
these words into full sentences. Extract evidence from the text to
support your inferences and cite it appropriately. (8 points total.
4 points per observation. Descriptive word or phrase/intro to
quote/quote(properly cited)/explanation of quote)
For example:
The hospital sounds incredibly strict. For example, Sister Rita
forbids Frankie and Patricia to talk to each other and when she
catches them in conversation, she berates them by saying, “Now,
now what’s this? There’s to be no talking between two rooms
especially when it’s a boy and a girl” (McCourt 195). Considering
they are the only patients and there is nothing else to do in the
hospital, this seems very harsh indeed.
Mood and tone
Through his/her writing an author tries to make you feel a certain
way.
5. How does Frank McCourt make you feel in the excerpt and why?
Extract evidence from the text to support how you feel. Use a direct
quote and, again, remember to cite it appropriately. You should give
at least two different feelings that McCourt evokes in you. (8 points
total. 4 points per observation. Feeling/intro to
quote/quote(properly cited)/explanation of quote)
For example:
At times I felt extreme anger when reading this piece. I find it
incredibly cruel that Sister Rita has him isolated in the ward where so
many people had died from the potato famine and forbids him from
having visitors – even his mother - because of his “bad behavior with
Patricia Madigan and that poem ” (McCourt 199). This act is
particularly despicable if you bear in mind that Frankie is only 10
years-old and that Patricia is expected to die very soon.
Literary techniques
Literary techniques
Frank McCourt uses three major literary techniques to engage his audience and bring his writing to life.
• Flashback – telling a story from the past in the present.
• Foreshadowing – giving clues about what is going to happen.
• Use of imagery – descriptive words to paint pictures in the reader’s mind.
6. How does Frank McCourt bring a story from the past into the present? Hint: Look at the very first sentence on
page 194. (2 points)
7. There are two very good examples of foreshadowing in the piece. What are they? Hint: look at paragraph 8 on
page 195 and paragraph two on page 198. (2 points per observation)
8. Look at the second paragraph on page 199. In your own words, describe what the ward looks like and what
Frankie sees in his nightmares. (4 points. 2 points for descriptions of the ward/2 points for descriptions of the
nightmares)
Extension (Optional for extra credit. 4 point maximum). What did you think of the piece, Typhoid Fever and why?
Work cited
McCourt, F. Typhoid Fever from Angela’s Ashes.
Elements of Literature: Fourth Course. Eds. Holt, Reinhart and
Winston. Austin, Texas: Beers Odell, 2005. 193 – 199. Print (1 point)
What is wrong with the following answers about life
in Frankie’s fever hospital and a modern day one?
• Well, life in a modern hospital is like very different
to the hospital in which Frankie stayed. It was like
scummy and nasty, while ours are really cool.
• Frankie’s hospital was full of mean nuns. “Don’t let
me come back and find you talking” (McCourt 195).
• Life in Frankie’s hospital would have been very
boring. “Patricia says she has two books by her bed”
(McCourt 195).
What is wrong with the following answers about
how the author makes us feel through his writing?
• I had alot of anger when reading this piece. Sister
Rita could of treated Frankie much better than she
did. I think she is a scumbag.
• There were some moments of comedy and light
relief for me, however. The piece made me feel
really sad. “She got out of the bed when she was
supposed to use a bedpan and collapsed and died
in the lavatory” (McCourt 198).
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