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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith

Chapters 55–56

Chapters 52–54

Chapters 55–56, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

Chapter 55

Francie feels sentimental about leaving her teletyping job, but like her mother, she refuses displays of affection. Meanwhile, the family endures two more sad events: Mary Rommely dies and Willie Flittman leaves his family. Evy takes Willie's job at the factory. Francie wonders why so many sad things seem like dreams to her, and then thinks that maybe these things are real, and she is the dreamer. Life is going well for Francie. She has passed her college entrance exams with Ben's help and is going to University of Michegan in Ann Arbor. Ben has chosen this college for her. Francie knows she will always belong to Brooklyn.

Ben has given Francie a promise ring; he is not fickle and cruel like Lee. Still, Francie thinks again of Lee. When she leaves her office, the girls play the song that she and Lee danced to, "Till We Meet Again." Still, when she gets out of work, Ben is there to meet her, and she is happy to see him.

Chapter 56

On a Saturday in September, the Nolans move out of their apartment. The next day, Katie will marry Mr. McShane. Katie works on the last day in their apartment, even though Mr. McShane has given her $1000 as a wedding present. She writes a check to Evy for $200, the same amount of money Evy would have collected from Uncle Willie's death insurance.

That last Saturday, Francie goes down to Cheap Charlie's, pays $.50 and asks for all the prizes on the board. Early in the novel, the author describes the scene of kids at Cheap Charlie's. Children pay a penny, and Charlie draws a number. If they like the prize that matches the number, they can have it; otherwise, they can have candy instead. No one ever draws a good prize.) Now, Francie calls Charlie on his scam—kids always keep coming back, hoping for a nice toy they will never get. Charlie tells Francie he has to worry about his own family. She asks instead to buy a fifty-cent doll, and tells Charlie to let some kid win it.

Francie says goodbye to all her old neighborhood haunts—her school, McGarrity's saloon (which is now owned by someone else), and the library. For the first time, the bitter librarian looks up at Francie. Francie realizes that the librarian has never looked at the brown bowl with flora in it. Francie knows she will never return to her old neighborhood.

Packing her things, she comes across her diary, time capsule envelope, and four stories her teacher told her to burn. She decides that she might start writing again one day. Neeley bursts in the door, in a hurry to get to a show. Francie irons his shirt for him as they talk. Neeley calls Francie "Prima Donna" and starts to sing "Molly Malone." She asks him if he thinks she is good-looking. They say good-bye, since they will not have any more time alone before Francie leaves. He reminds her of Johnny.

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by jessiedude64, July 22, 2012

Mr. Seigler
-owns a cheap, dry-goods store

1 Comments

15 out of 39 people found this helpful

must read

by sidneywright, July 11, 2015

This book has touched me in so many ways. Im speechless!

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