A Monk Swimming, by Malachy McCourt and The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

A Monk Swimming, by Malachy McCourt and The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls

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In the memoirs A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt, and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, there are stories of how both authors persevere through some form of poverty during their childhoods; in both cases, the authors have a history of running away from their problems, and finally both McCourt and Walls turn their stories into fame and success. Both memoirs are based on stories from the authors’ pasts, and they remain the central focus throughout the memoir. Memoirs are a subgenre of the narrative, non-fiction genre (List of Literary Genres, California Department of Education). A memoir is a book or other piece of writing based on the writer's personal knowledge of famous people, places, or events. The difference between a memoir and an autobiography is that autobiographies use physically recorded works, while memoirs are, nearly to the letter of definition, literary representations of memory. Therefore, like memories, the possibility exists that they may be inaccurate or willfully distorted (Memoir (Genre), University of California Berkeley Information Services and Technology). Not only do the memoirs show how the authors’ childhood experiences shape their lives, they also provide explanations of how they were able to take their situations and turn them into a successful life and career. It is apparent that there are numerous similarities in the lives and memoirs of A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt and The Glass Castle; those similarities and the slight differences are discussed throughout the essay.

Malachy McCourt grows up in Limerick, Munster, Ireland in a household riddled with familial difficulties and tragedies. While he is young, his four year-old sister Margaret dies, and then his twin siblings Eugene and Oliver...


... middle of paper ...


...hman in any establishment where he could



Works Cited

California Department of Education. "List of Literary Genres." Bellevue-Santa Fe Charter School. N.p., 31 Jan. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.
McCourt, Malachy. "Welcome to Malachy's Website." Malachy McCourt. 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. .

McCourt, Malachy. A Monk Swimming: A Memoir. New York: Hyperion, 1998. Print.

UC Berkeley. "Memoir (Genre)." UC Berkely Information Services and Technology. N.p., 8 July 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. .

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "'A Monk Swimming': A Tragedian's Brother Finds More Comedy in Life." Books of the Times. New York Times, 4 Sept. 1998. Web. 1 Dec. 2013

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