In CliffsNotes on Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you explore life in early 20th-century Brooklyn as you follow the maturation of Francie Nolan and her family, which includes a hard-drinking father and the economic cost associated with that. But no matter the struggles that Francie encounters on her way to becoming an independent woman, her tenacity in creating the best life for herself that she can is inescapable. Ultimately her determination to succeed is like the tree that grows in the courtyard where Francie grows up, a tree called the Tree of Heaven, which always grows, regardless of whether or not it is watered, and which symbolizes the strength to survive, just as Francie survives.
This study guide carefully walks you through Francie’s journey by providing summaries and critical analyses of each book of the novel. You'll also explore the life and background of the author, Betty Smith. Other features that help you study include
- An overview of the novel
- A list of characters, including analyses of major characters
- A character map that graphically illustrates the relationships among the characters
- Analyses of major themes and symbols
- A glossary of important terms and phrases from the novel
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