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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith

Chapters 24–26

Chatpers 21–24

Chapters 24–26, page 2

page 1 of 3

Chapter 24

Francie keeps track of the year by holidays, beginning with the fourth of July. She especially loves Election Day. In Brooklyn, the Oyster House is an old building where Big Chief Tammany hung around over one hundred years before, and where City Hall politicians used to meet in secret meetings to decide who would be elected. The children still sing a song about Tammany in the streets; the word "Tammany" is used to describe the town's political party system in general.

Johnny and Katie argue over politics, as Johnny is a staunch supporter of the Democratic party. Katie has no political allegiance, but is critical of the party. Katie says when women vote, they will kick all the crooked politicians out. Johnny says she will go to the polls with him, and vote like he wants her to.

The Mattie Mahoney Association, representing the Democrats, holds an excursion especially to lure in women and children, who will one day be voters. At the event, Francie learns a lesson in gambling when she loses a hotdog and ride tickets to a game of marbles. A kind Sergeant McShane gives her extras, and notices how pretty Katie is. Katie, likewise, notices him, and covers her chafed hands with her gloves. The reader then finds out that McShane married a troubled pregnant girl as a kind gesture to her family, who had taken him in. After having fourteen children, ten of whom have died, the woman is in bad health. Katie tells Johnny she hopes the woman dies, so McShane can marry again. This comment makes Johnny sadly surprised.

Although Mattie Mahoney's name and face is everywhere, Francie can't ever find the man himself. Although most election festivities end in November, in January, Katie splurges every year by going to the Ladies' Day at the Democratic Headquarters.

Chapter 25

The narrator explains that Johnny is sentimental and gleeful when he is sober and quietly thoughtful when drunk. After his drinking binges, he feels like he needs to be a better father. Like Mary Rommely, he wants to see his children get more education than he did. Sometimes he takes them to Bushwick Avenue, the boulevard in old Brooklyn to teach them civics, geography, and sociology. He and Francie get talking about the carriages, and he explains to Francie that anyone in America can ride in a carriage—provided they have the money. Francie does not understand why it's a free country if you have to pay. Johnny explains simply that otherwise they would have Socialism. Before they leave, he also shows Francie the mayor's house.

Francie remembers another time on this same avenue, when there was a parade with many roses, to celebrate Dr. Cook, a Brooklynite who'd made it all the way to the North Pole with the American flag.

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by jessiedude64, July 22, 2012

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


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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