The Importance Of Perseverance In Betty Smith A Tree Grows In Brooklyn?

Superior Essays
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is a novel about perseverance through hardship, as Francie Nolan grows up in the impoverished immigrant neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, during the 1910s. Her mother Katie works tirelessly as a janitor all day and must support her family because Francie’s father Johnny is an alcoholic. The Nolan family lives each day uncertain if there will be enough money for the bare necessities, such as food or wood for a fire. Throughout the novel, Francie exemplifies perseverance in order to escape the situations in which she is placed. The community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the early nineteenth century was incredibly diverse. One of the most prominent ethnic groups in this community was the Irish. Most …show more content…
Katie’s parents emigrate from Austria, and Johnny’s family emigrate from Ireland to escape the devastation of the potato famine. As a result, Francie is born into a world where her family does not have enough money to even buy essential goods. When they have no food in the house, Katie plays a game called “North Pole” with Francie and Neeley, pretending they are trying to reach the North Pole and are awaiting provisions (Smith 246). Francie lives in a household where simple things like coffee or fresh bread are considered luxuries. The destitute situation of the Nolan family is amplified by Johnny’s alcohol addiction because he is unable to work regularly and provide a reliable source of income. In order to compensate for Johnny’s inability to work much, Katie must clean three tenement houses per day. Francie explains, “Even though her hands were red and cracked from the sodaed water, they were beautifully shaped with lovely, curled, oval nails. Everyone said it was a pity that a slight pretty woman like Katie Nolan had to go out scrubbing floors. But what else could she do considering the husband she had, they said” …show more content…
Once Neeley and Francie graduate from eighth grade, Neeley continues to high school while Francie is sent to work. This is because Katie finds Neeley’s education more important than Francie’s because he is the man of the family. Katie is also starting to work less because she is pregnant and her body cannot bear all the physical labor from her job as a janitor. Francie is devastated and exclaims to her mother, “Why do you make him go when he doesn’t want to and keep me out of school when I want to go so much?” (384). Francie, though, finds education in her job as a reader at the Model Press Clipping Bureau. Her love of reading makes her a perfect candidate for the job, and eventually she is promoted to a city reader, a highly coveted position which also includes a emolument of twenty dollars a week. Francie also enrolls in a college summer school and eventually takes a college entrance exam because she does not have a high school diploma. She passes the exam and is accepted by the University of Michigan. Through her tenacity and hard work, education becomes the means by which Francie is finally able to escape the poverty of her parents '

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In Barbara Kingsolver’s classic tale of a girl's journey for a new life, The Bean Trees, have you noticed all the intuitive tools she utilizes to capture readers. Kingsolver uses Imagery, Symbolism, and Allusion to convey the importance of family and show how the characters adapt to adversity. Her words mix and match to engulf readers and make us feel as if we've experienced Taylor's journey ourselves. Kingsolver’s fantastic Imagery helps build a view of the completely new environment in which Taylor has arrived. Tucson is described as having “rocks stacked on top of one another like piles of copulating potato bugs.…

    • 482 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Katie is learning to be independent and not having to rely on a man to take care of her, no matter how hard she has to work, from the bottom and up. Katie is determined to be happy and safe. In Order for katie to fix up the house she goes to the local store and buys the paint supplies. Katie decides to go to the local corner store, Ryan's Port Market to pick up the paint supplies. Katie catches a glance at Alex in the back, he is the owner of the store.…

    • 919 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    1. At school, Miss Caroline is upset that Scout has learned to read, and asks her not to have her father teach her anymore. Scout encounters an issue that only feeds to her disinterest of school. In this event, Scout’s confusion on what she has done wrong displays her innocence as a child. It was not her intention to be ahead in reading, instead it was something that she found came to her naturally.…

    • 730 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This adjustment to a new environment causes Jeannette to take her life into her own hands, and when she does the door to prosperity and happiness finally opens. Jeannette and her siblings spent their childhood in the shadow of their father’s drinking problems and their mother’s overwhelming dreams. They all took care of each other because their parents couldn’t even care for themselves. At the age of three Jeannette took care of herself by preparing her own meals. Her…

    • 619 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In 1836, Bridgeport was born with the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This alone “guaranteed Bridgeport's position as an industrial center,” as it encouraged the creation of lumberyards, manufacturing plants, and packing houses (Bridgeport, Encyclopedia of Chicago, 1). Due to the steady access to employment during this time, many immigrants began to settle and search for work in the neighborhood. This translated into a growing foreign ‘white’ population, as it “stood as a bastion of white ethnic communities” (1).…

    • 883 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Jeannette Walls Lifestyle Choices Jeannette Walls chose to live a very different lifestyle then she did when she was growing up. Her childhood reflects her personality, relationships, and her motivation as she became an adult. Jeannette is a well known author for The Glass Castle, she now lives on a ranch with her second husband John. Growing up Jeannette had an interesting life compared to you and I. Her parents Rose Mary and Rex Walls did not believe in traditional parenting or way of living.…

    • 1092 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Bensonhurst Research Paper

    • 1333 Words
    • 6 Pages

    The neighborhood’s cultural diversity can be attributed to the huge waves of immigrants, who remolded it with their values, ideals, and beliefs and developed the authenticity. During the early 20th century, a lot of Italians and Jews relocated to Bensonhurst. According to Foner’s “Transnationalism, Old and New: New York Immigrants,” former Italian and Jewish immigrants were compelled to come to America due to push and pull factors. They came in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families, and continued to maintain social relations in their societies of origin and settlement through transnational practices. In addition, they provided funds to support their family (Foner, 343).…

    • 1333 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Character Identification Protagonist: Francis, a poor young girl in Brooklyn. Neely, her younger brother. Katie her mother, Her dad johnny.…

    • 980 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, Brenda soon learned that academic predicaments were not the only obstacles she would be forced to face. During college, “ I was in a bad situation. I had a roommate and we just didn't get along and I knew that it wasn't a good environment.” Her roommate “didn't care about school, she wasn't focused on her studies, she wasn't focused on anything to do school”. Brenda couldn’t deal with having substandard living conditions while trying to juggle her academics.…

    • 1362 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Negligence from parental characters can subsequently affect a child while also having an instantaneous effect. Rex and Rose Mary Walls in The Glass Castle by Jeannette walls pay little attention to their children and the effects their actions inflict on them. As the parents act childish and dismiss their responsibilities Jeanette is made to assume a parental role. She has faced with the families financial issues as well as her sibling's personal lives. She adapts to her role in the family becoming responsible at a young age while also being susceptible to dealing with certain situations immaturely.…

    • 1055 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    With the school, she is able to make people perceive the emotion of regret about their previous decisions in life. Brady also writes about if she could find a more…

    • 512 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Squirrel Hill Case Study

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Squirrel Hill is a residential neighborhood in the East End of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The city officially divides it into two neighborhoods, Squirrel Hill North and Squirrel Hill South, but it is almost universally treated as a single neighborhood. As of the 2010 Census, Squirrel Hill North has a population of 11363, having grown 9% since 2000. Squirrel Hill North's population is 75% White, 17% Asian, 4% Hispanic, and 3% black.…

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Claire just graduated and is waiting for replies from the universities she applied to. Meanwhile, her mom is having doubts about the faithfulness of her husband, who is a teacher at an all boys' school in Chicago. Realizing that she got no positive replies from the universities yet, her mom has the wonderful idea to send her as a spy to the school in which her dad teaches.…

    • 68 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The premise of the book is how a boy and a tree have a forever lasting relationship, but soon the boy grows up and begins to need things from the tree. Eventually he uses all that the tree can give him, her apples, her branches, her trunk, until she is nothing but a stump. Defeated and sad was the tree until one day the boy came again, now an old man, looking for a quiet, resting place.…

    • 1371 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She never felt left out by her parents. She had a younger sister named Abbey that had a huge impact on her because she was the reason that made her be a responsible person. Her parents used to let her baby-sit Abbey and that’s how she learned to be responsible. On her graduation day, she made her parents proud of her. They saw her walk on the stage and receive her degree that will brighten her future.…

    • 365 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays