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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is typical of many first time books written by authors. It is typical because it chronicles her deprived childhood, including the requisite poverty and dysfunctional family. However, it is also typical because like many authors Smith in telling her story is trying to demonstrate how despite hereditary and environment an individual can transcend both, at least where their own self-actualization is concerned. The title of the novel is symbolic because urban cities like Brooklyn are not known for being conducive to growth, particularly the flora of nature. In other words, a tree, an object that needs nurturing (nutritious soil, water, sunlight) in order to develop has difficult time maturing properly in a land of concrete, steel and pollution. Nonetheless, trees do grow in Brooklyn, albeit perhaps through a thwarted or slower developmental process. In other words, inherent in nature is a survival mechanism, one that is difficult to quash. Likewise, in A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Francie experiences an environment that is less than optimal for well-rounded personality development, i.e., one that allows the individual to fulfill their ultimate potential. Francie and her family are extremely poor. Her mother is determined and perseveres while her father is often unemployed and even more often drunk. She must also suffer through the typical adolescent humiliations of the teasings of other children and the broken heart that accompanies her awakening sexuality. We see Francie endure many experiences in her environment, that while typical of many adolescents’ experiences, because they are adolescents these common experiences can greatly impact the individual’s psycho-sexual development. This is why we have such empathy for Francie. We understand that she is extremely sensitive and suffers emotionally from many of her experiences. What makes her empathetic to us is that we know at her age i...

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 19:47, May 26, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1684914.html