Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Book
From the author of the huge international bestsellers Angelas Ashes and Tis
comes this charming third memoir
Leaving behind his impoverished childhood in Ireland, Frank McCourt arrived in
New York young and idealistic. Quickly acknowledging his interest for literature
he joined the New York Library and began educating himself in his spare time
after work. Drawing confidence from these efforts, he talked his way into a NYU
and gained a degree in literature. He then embarked on a career in literature
that would span over 30 years. Looking back now, he estimates that he probably
taught up to 12,000 children and long before his writing fame he recalls how he
would receive letters from former students praising his teaching and thanking
him for inspiring them.
In Teacher Man, McCourt continues his memoirs on this chapter of his life
and reflects on his experiences as a teacher and the relationships with his
students. He describes with wit and poignancy, his thoughts and feelings of his
profession and leads us on a journey of his own personal development and ability
to finally, after 15 years, find his own voice in the classroom. Frequently
questioned by his students in class about his life of poverty in Ireland,
McCourt reveals how sharing and narrating his own life with his students,
ultimately led to his becoming a writer.
What is most appealing about Frank McCourt and his stories? How does he draw
from his past to help him in the present with his teaching?
In what way does Teacher Man extend and develop our image of Frank as a
person? What are your feelings towards Frank the teacher compared to Frank as a
child? You might wish to think about how you reacted to his character for each
of his three books. Are there any similarities and differences? What is your
overall impression of the man and his life?
What makes great memoirs? What specific elements help to make the memories more
vivid and real?
If you like Teacher Man you might also like: Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters. London Born: A Memoir of a Forgotten City by Sidney Day. Bad Blood by Lorna Sage.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Scribner.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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