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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Transcript of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Coming of age is different for each individual. For Francie Nolan, coming of age meant finding a balance between her desires, responsibilities, and obligations. She needed to grow up in poverty to learn how to be humble and like the Tree of Heaven, in order to grow and flourish everywhere she goes.
When the book first starts off, Francie is about twelve years old and just starting to mature. She is growing up in poverty and has to learn to deal with the struggles of her family. She enjoys sitting on her fire escape and get lost in her books and thoughts while surrounded by the leaves of the tree of heaven. She knows how to take care of herself and her family but doesn't know a lot about growing up yet.
Being human, Francie did have a few setbacks. Besides telling the occasional lie, her most significant step back was when she met Lee. She took him out to dinner as a favor to a friend, and he charmed her throughout the whole evening even though he was already engaged. He claimed to be madly in love with her, and that he wanted to be with her despite his other troubles. Foolishly, Francie dropped down to a 4 on the scale due to sudden rush into promising her life and love to a man that she had just met. Her poor judgement would suggest that she was not ready to come of age. But this also taught her about heartbreak and not making hasty decisions.
“My brother is next. His arm is just as dirty as mine so don’t be surprised. And you don’t have to tell him. You told me.” ( Smith 147)
Here, Francie had just listened to doctors ranting on about her being too dirty and poor. She took a very mature route and saved her brother from the humiliation and stood up to the doctors.
"Once more she looked at Florry Wendy reading on the fire escape.
'Good-bye, Francie,' she whispered.
she closed the window." (Smith 493).
Francie is finally a 9 on the coming of age scale. Here she is letting go of the little girl that she used to be and went off to start a new life.
In the end, Francie matured into a reliable young adult. We end with seeing her prepare to go off to college in Michigan. She is saying farewell to her childhood.
"She promised away her whole life as simply as she'd offer a hand in greeting or farewell" (Smith 460) This is a setback because she fell head over heels for a man that was faking his love the whole time. Her vision was clouded and it lead to a poor decision.
“The barrier between the individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read! From that time on, the world was hers for reading” (Smith 166). This shows Francie coming of age because when you learn how to read, that's considered a milestone in a persons life.
During the middle section of the novel, Francie starts to grow into her own. She learns that she has a passion and talent for writing.
She also goes to school and learns to read. She is significantly developing. She is a 6 as she continues to grow up.
Throughout the book there was a significant motif. The Tree of Heaven, Francie is determined to grow and flourish no matter how harsh the conditions. Both Francie and the tree are forced to grow in the poor streets of Brooklyn. Francie enjoys sitting on the fire escape and get lost in her books and thoughts while engulfed in the leaves of the tree. Later, they tried to burn and chop down the tree, but it stubbornly continued to grow (Smith 493). Francie had oppressors as well, and yet she refused to he slowed in her maturing process. Overall, the tree represents growing up against all odds.