It's Not Hard to Make Decisions When You Know What Your Values Are

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It's Not Hard to Make Decisions When You Know What Your Values Are

Roy Disney explains that "It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." This is an important theme for the characters of Stephen Dedalus from James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and of Frank McCourt from Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. The two things in life that are supposed to supply stability (parents and the church) have failed, which is why Stephen and Frank discover that only through their own self-reliance will they ever be able to experience true freedom from the forces that have bound them.

Stephen's parents let him down by not emotionally supporting him while Frank's parents do not physically support him. Right before
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Frank rarely gets enough food to fulfill his appetite because he father is too proud to beg for food. When Angela wants to move because of the diseases the lavatory may spread, Malachy explains, "We can't move again. Where will we get a house for six shillings a week?" (92). Frank is unable to live in a clean home because his family cannot afford it. His family constantly moves due to their financial situation, and each home is more dilapidated than the previous. Despite the emotional support that is provided to Frank by his parents, they have great difficulty feeding and housing him.

Similar to his parents, the Catholic Church also fails Stephen by wrongly accusing him of lying about his broken glasses and fails Frank by refusing him the opportunity to be an altar boy. After Stephen states that he has been excused from schoolwork, Father Dolan says, "Out here, Dadalus. Lazy little schemer" (37). An important figure in his church doubts his honesty and verbally demeans Stephen in front of his classmates. Then Father Dolan physically punishes Stephen even when he tells the Father the truth. Stephen goes to the rector and when the rector takes Father Dolan's side, Stephen tries to explain to the rector, "But I told him I broke them, sir, and he pandied me" (43). Even the rector does not believe Stephen and half-heartedly tells him that he will have a talk with Father Dolan regarding the

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