Ironweed Short Essay - Answer Key

William Kennedy
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1. How did Francis end up with a job shoveling dirt at the cemetery?

Francis had been arrested for voting twenty-one times, but his lawyer got him off on a technicality. As a result, Francis owed his lawyer fifty dollars, and when he could not negotiate with the lawyer, the lawyer got him day work at the cemetery.

2. Where did Francis Phelan’s family lie in the pecking order of the cemetery?

The Phelans are with the swelling masses, after Francis sees the illustrious dead and the mausoleums of the powerful figures in the city.

3. What kinship does Francis have with the Phelan brothers?

The narrator says that Francis has a closer kinship with their alcoholic desolation than with their blood itself, for they all shared their poverty and drink. The brothers were down and out and they had been stabbed and robbed of forty-eight cents all together.

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