Foto en flickr de Wendy Cutler. Algunos derechos reservados. Yo percibo una gran individualidad en Betty Smith que transmite a sus protagonistas femeninas. Entera y firme, sujetaba bien las cosas. Somos demasiado parecidas para comprendernos mutuamente, ni siquiera nos comprendemos a nosotras mismas.

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Book One[ edit ] Book One opens in and introduces year-old Francie Nolan, who lives in the Williamsburg tenement neighborhood of Brooklyn with her year-old brother Cornelius "Neeley" for short and their parents, Johnny and Katie. Francie relies on her imagination and her love of reading to provide a temporary escape from the poverty that defines her daily existence.

His alcoholism has made it difficult for him to hold a steady job, and he sees himself as a disappointment to his family as a result. Francie admires him because he is handsome, talented, imaginative, and sentimental, as she is. Katie has very little time for sentiment, since she is the breadwinner of the family who has forsaken fantasies and dreams for survival.

Book Two[ edit ] Book Two jumps back to , with the meeting of Johnny and Katie, the teenage children of immigrants from Ireland and Austria , respectively.

Kate resents Francie because the baby is constantly ill, while Neeley is more robust. Katie makes a promise to herself that her daughter must never learn of her preference for Neeley. The Nolans then arrive at the apartment introduced in Book two. Book Three[ edit ] In Book Three, the Nolans settle into their new home, and seven-year-old Francie and six-year-old Neeley begin to attend the squalid, overcrowded public school next door.

When Johnny learns that Katie is pregnant once again, he falls into a depression that leads to his death from alcoholism-induced pneumonia on Christmas Day Book Four[ edit ] At the start of Book Four, Francie and Neeley take jobs, since there is no money to send them to high school. Francie works first in an artificial-flower factory, then gets a better-paying job in a press clipping office after lying about her age.

Although she wants to use her salary to start high school in the fall, Katie decides to send Neeley instead, reasoning that he will only continue learning if he is forced into it, while Francie will find a way to do it on her own.

Once the United States enters World War I in , the clipping office rapidly declines and closes, leaving Francie out of a job. After she finds work as a teletype operator, she makes a new plan for her education, choosing to skip high school and take summer college-level courses. A brief encounter with Lee Rhynor, a soldier preparing to ship out to France, leads to heartbreak after he pretends to be in love with Francie, when he is in fact about to get married.

In , Katie accepts a marriage proposal from Michael McShane, a retired police officer who has long admired her and has become a wealthy businessman and politician since leaving the force. Book Five[ edit ] As Book Five begins in the fall of this same year, Francie, now almost 17, quits her teletype job. Francie pays one last visit to some of her favorite childhood places and reflects on all the people who have come and gone in her life.

In the habits of a neighborhood girl, Florry, Francie sees a version of her young self, sitting on the fire escape with a book and watching the young ladies of the neighborhood prepare for their dates. Characters[ edit ] Mary Frances "Francie" Nolan is the protagonist. The novel begins when Francie is 11 years old. Francie grows up in Brooklyn in the early twentieth century; her family is in constant poverty throughout most of the novel. Francie shares a great admiration for her father, Johnny Nolan, and wishes for an improved relationship with her mother, hardworking Katie Nolan, recognizing similar traits in her mother and herself that she believes are a barrier to true understanding.

The story of Francie traces her individual desires, affections, and hostilities while growing up in an aggressive, individualistic, romantic, and ethnic family and neighborhood; more universally it represents the hopes of immigrants in the early twentieth century to rise above poverty through their children, whom they hope will receive "education" and take their place among true Americans.

Francie is symbolized by the "Tree of Heaven" that flourishes under the most unlikely urban circumstances. She is a first-generation immigrant with an evil father and an angelic mother who emigrated from Austria. She married Johnny Nolan when she was only 17 years old. Katie is a hardworking, practical woman whose youthful romanticism has been replaced by a frigid realism that often prevents her from sympathizing with those who love her most.

She runs her home in such a way that her children are able to enjoy their childhood despite their extreme poverty.

Because Johnny is an alcoholic and can rarely hold down a job, Katie becomes the family breadwinner by cleaning apartment buildings. As Francie matures and develops an inclination toward academia, Katie realizes she is more devoted to Neeley than to Francie.

Katie becomes pregnant just before Johnny dies and survives on her own until she agrees to marry Sergeant Michael McShane, a pipe-smoking local policeman-turned-politician.

Sissy is kind, compassionate and beautiful, and many men fall in love with her. She is first married at 14, but after being unable to have any live children with her husband, Sissy leaves him. She marries two more times without ever getting a divorce. In between marriages, Sissy has a number of lovers. She calls each of her husbands and lovers by the name "John" until her final husband, who insists that she properly divorce her second husband and demands to be called by his own name, Steve.

He is a first-generation American; his parents immigrated from Ireland. He has a protective mother and had three brothers, all of whom died young. Johnny marries Katie Rommely at nineteen. He is charismatic, a loving husband and father, loved dearly by his family but especially by Francie. He is, however, an alcoholic.

When he does hold a job, Johnny works as a singing waiter. He has a beautiful voice, a talent that is greatly admired but that is largely wasted because of his reputation as an alcoholic. After Katie tells him that she is pregnant with their third child, he stops drinking and immediately falls into a deep depression that ends with his death from alcoholism-induced pneumonia. He is a dreamer, in sharp contrast to Katie, whose view of the world is realistic. He is a year younger than Francie and is favored by his mother, Katie.

Neeley is an outgoing child who is more widely accepted by the neighborhood children than Francie. Neeley refuses to follow the tradition of Nolan men and determines to never become an alcoholic. Like Francie, he feels that their childhood was pleasant despite their poverty. While considered throughout most of the novel to be in less dire circumstances than Katie, Evy struggles with her lazy husband Willie, a milk-wagon driver.

When Willie suffers an injury, Evy drives the route instead and proves surprisingly good at it, treating the horses much more kindly than Willie does. At the end of the novel, he leaves her to travel as a one-man band and she carries on without a husband. Unlike Sissy, Evy has had only one marriage and is not assumed to be promiscuous. Francie only met her once.

Mary cannot read or write English, but she encourages Katie to ensure that her children learn the language, and also to begin saving money so she can buy land someday. She keeps her right arm covered at all times to hide scars from a childhood accident with a tub of scalding water.

She has a brother, Henny, who is dying of tuberculosis. When Francie refuses, he goes back to his fiancee. Ben Blake is a boy Francie befriends during her first summer of college classes.

Ben is driven and determined. However, at the end of the novel, Francie goes to college with a promise ring from Ben and hope of a future with him. Themes[ edit ] Although the book addresses many different issues—poverty, alcoholism, lying, etc.

Although there are naturalistic elements in the book, it is not fundamentally naturalistic. The Nolans are financially restricted by poverty yet find ways to enjoy life and satisfy their needs and wants.

For example, Francie can become intoxicated just by looking at flowers. Idealism and pragmatism are weighed and both found necessary to survival in Brooklyn. Katie explains love and sexuality to Francie from two somewhat clashing points of view: as a mother and as a woman.

The book revises traditional notions of right and wrong and suggests pointedly that extreme poverty changes the criteria on which such notions, and those who embrace them, should be judged.

Gender roles are more fluid in A Tree than in previous novels about young people. As Francie discovers her desire for companionship, she begins to understand the injustices women are often forced to endure when pregnant out of wedlock. Other issues the book addresses include: Man vs.


Un árbol crece en Brooklyn

This book is not one of them. If I were to make a metaphor, this book would be the equivalent of the ice bucket challenge. It offers no platitudes, it is harsh, realistic. It slaps you in the face with reality, a reality that is very rarely pleasant. And it is also one of the best young adult books I have ever read.





Betty Smith





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