I read A tree grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
The story takes place in the summer of 1912 in Brooklyn New York. Johnny and Katie Nolan met very young in 1900. Soon, after six months of meeting, and getting married they have their first child, Francie Nolan who is eleven when the book begins. Later they have their second and last child Neely Nolan. As Francie grows up she begins to lose her innocence through a tree-throwing ritual and an encounter with a sex offender who was shot by Katie.
Her father drinks more and more and becomes worthless. Katie then becomes pregnant with a third child, Annie Laurie. Johnny dies on Christmas day, which was five moths before his daughter was born. Francie stops believing in God the Christian faith and begins to do poorly in school. Francie and her brother work after finishing middle school in order to help out Katie.
She can only afford to send one of he kids to school so she decides to send Neely, and Francie continues to work which allows them to live a little easier. World War I begins in America and this causes the world to change. Francie finds her first love, however he leaves to marry his Fiance before going to war. Francie is left with a broken heart but soon she meets a another boy. Then, Sergeant McShane asks Katie to marry him and she accepts.
He has enough money to support them fully without hardship, and allowing Francie and Neely to go to college. They move out of their apartment the day before the wedding while Francie gets ready to leave for college. I feel that Betty Smith relates to many other early 1900 writers in America. She brings forward the realities and struggles of poverty that many other writers have written about. In almost every chapter and character, Smith addresses the hardship of poverty, which gives the reader a feeling of how life was in the early 1900s. I feel that Scott F.
Fitzgerald’s writing in his book The Great Gatsby is similar to Betty Smith’s writing because this book is all about the tragedies that are associated with excess money. This gives two sides of two different worlds in America around the same time. However, both writers write about the positive aspects of the two different money backgrounds and the negative aspects. Betty Smith shows that the most lovable character in the book are poor, but also points out the many hardships and horrible aspects of growing up in a world of poverty. And Fitzgerald also writes about the joys of wealth and success, along with the devastating life of money.
For example, Scott F. Fitzgerald writes about the overwhelming lives of Tom and Daisy, who are a very unhappy couple, both having an affair, and living life by covering up their mistakes with money. I think that Betty Smith writes about a couple of different ‘American Ideals. ” Her characters embody the lives of poverty stricken families, the lack of education that poor people usually have, and the amount of suffering that they and other families in that environment went through. She also challenges the differences between the lives of the wealthy and the lives of the poor, always comparing the two social classes, because even though she has a life full of love and happiness to the most part, she still breams of rising from poverty and succeeding on the other side of life where there are more open doors.
In the end of the book Francie is able to fulfill her dream of succeeding and rising above her world of despair and hardship, she feel free has a more open world to explore. However, I believe that she supports both classes, even though she seems to like and support poor people. So the ideals that Betty Smith portrays in her book are that poverty doesn’t matter if you have love in your life, and that money cannot buy happiness. A tree grows in Brooklyn is a book that is full of truth and reality of a world that I do not know much of.
I have such a luxurious life because of the amount of resources and the endless amount of love that I am surrounded by. However, the Nolan family finds beauty in their life that is full of a lot of love for each other even though they do not have the resources to back them up. All of them give up something in their lives for each other’s well being, whether it is education or money. I really enjoyed her style of writing which really gave you a feeling of being right there with the Nolan family in the projects of Brooklyn.