Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 7, 2023
September 30, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Like all Rommely women, Katie came "made out of thin invisible steel." The daughter of Austrian immigrants, Katie is hardworking and proud. A life filled with poverty and children has made her hard and detached, and has catalyzed her survivor instinct. While Johnny succumbs to hardship, Katie perseveres, and this is a defining characterization for each of them. Hard times only make her fight harder, and in the end, her children's success makes her struggle worthwhile. Although she changes little throughout the novel, she is softer before the birth of her children. She is romantic enough to fall in love with Johnny, and marry him, all because he could sing and dance. By the time Neeley is born, Katie loses all softness, knowing that she can depend on only herself to provide for her family.
Katie is symbolic of lower-class women in urban America at the turn of the century. She is a second generation American, and reflects the values of an immigrant background. She functions in the novel as a symbol of what the American dream can be. When Mary Rommely gives Katie advice at the beginning of the novel about how she should raise her children, the reader realizes that Katie is the means by which her children will live better lives than their parents.
Although Katie is a valiant character, the novel does not value one parent over the other: both have strengths and weaknesses. Katie never sees any of Francie's writing, for instance; she does not figure out a way for Francie to go to an enchanting school; she brushes her fears aside. Still, Katie provides the means by which Francie and Neeley survive.
Although Katie prefers Neeley to Francie, she loves both her children fiercely. She will make any sacrifice so that they may have an education. Every time a penny goes into the tin-can bank, it is because Katie gives up a little heat, or a little food. Katie worries sometimes that her children are too protected—that they see romance in a mean life, and that without life's cruel truths they will not fight to get out of their poverty. Education, she believes, will cure her children of poverty and meanness. Katie refuses charity in all its forms, teaching her children to grow up with dignity.
Ace your assignments with our guide to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!