A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
full title · A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
author · Betty Smith
type of work · Novel
genre · Bildungsroman (novel about the moral development of the main character); a coming of age novel
language · English
time and place written · Chapel Hill, North Carolina, early 1940's
date of first publication · 1943
publisher · Harper & Brothers
narrator · Omniscient
climax · Sergeant McShane asks Katie Nolan to marry him.
protagonist · Francie Nolan
antagonist · Poverty
setting (time) · Between 1900 and 1918
setting (place) · Williamsburg, Brooklyn
point of view · Omniscient
falling action · The Nolans move out of their home and get ready for the wedding. Francie says good-bye to Brooklyn before she leaves for college.
tense · Past
foreshadowing · There are more instances than can be listed. Henny's death foreshadows Johnny's. Katie's ability to read and write, unlike her mother, foreshadows that Francie will gain a higher level of education than Katie. The scene at the Mattie Mahoney picnic foreshadows the marriage of Katie and McShane.
tone · Mostly sympathetic toward the characters, sometimes childlike or contemplative
themes · Poverty and class issues; education; gender and sex; perseverance through hardship; ethnic and religious identity
motifs · Fall from innocence; American dream; Songs and singing
symbols · The Tree of Heaven