Notes on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Themes

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Topic Tracking: Education

Topic Tracking: Education

Book 1, Chapters 1-6

Education 1: Francie and Neeley begin their education at the advice of Mary Rommely and the orders of Katie. They read a page of Shakespeare and a page of the Bible before they go to bed each night. This nightly habitual lesson is their first form of education and it helps them throughout their lives.

Book 2, Chapters 7-14

Education 2: Katie and Johnny's first job together is taking care of a school. They play make believe in it at night and daydream of education. They are both uneducated, and they fail with tending to the icon of education: a school.

Education 3: Mary Rommely tells Katie that her child's life won't be bad as long as she has education and imagination. This advice fuels Katie's life in terms of her children's upbringing.

Book 3, Chapters 15-42

Education 4: Francie sees a girl slapping erasers outside the school by their new house. She learns about teacher's pets and the politics of school and education before she even enters that world. Nonetheless, she is still excited about educating herself in school since her mother has continually told her how important it is to a person.

Education 5: Katie learns how to play piano and teaches her children how to do so, as well. This type of cultural education, she feels, is vital to their upbringing. She wants them to hold special places in society and knows that music will enrich their lives and help them develop.

Education 6: Francie's first school does not live up to the high expectations that she originally held. She does get her own notebook, but must be immunized and share a desk. Furthermore, her teacher is unkind to her because of her poverty.

Education 7: Francie convinces Johnny to help her move to a school out of her district. She walks forty-eight blocks everyday in order to attend the school of her dreams. She learns so much and enjoys the companionship of the other girls and the sympathies of the kind teachers.

Education 8: Francie discovers her future as a writer. Her teacher tells her to write down the lies she makes up so that she won't mix them up with the truth she tells. She learns how to distinguish the truth from lies. This lesson, learned partially outside of the classroom, affects Francie more than any facts she learns in school.

Education 9: Katie finally realizes the crux of her mother's advice. She discovers that all the importance and future of her children lies in their education. She knows at this moment that her children must graduate in order to live well in this country. Her mother simply lacked the word "education," in giving her advice to Katie.

Education 10: Because McGarrity gives the children after school jobs, Francie can stay in school. She is so happy because school is the place where Francie feels the most successful. She is one of the best writers in her class.

Book 4, Chapters 43-54

Education 11: Katie can only afford to send one child to high school and selects Neeley because he does not want to go. She knows that, although Francie is dying to go to high school, if she does not attend this year, she will find a way to educate herself no matter what the circumstances may be. Francie is devastated by her mother's actions, even though she knows deep down that they are right.

Education 12: Francie educates herself on life through her jobs. She feels too old to go back to high school because of what she has been able to learn on her own. She decides to enroll in summer courses at Brooklyn Heights College. Katie supports her fully.

Education 13: Francie falls in love with college and works very hard to make good grades. She plans to study hard in order to take the placement exam to begin actual college courses in the fall. She fails the first one, but knows what to do for the following year.

Book 5, Chapters 55-56

Education 14: With the advice of Ben Blake, Francie decides to attend the University of Michigan. She is nervous and excited about her education, and knows that her youthful education of the world has been priceless.

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