Notes on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Themes

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Topic Tracking: Love

Topic Tracking: Love

Book 1, Chapters 1-6

Love 1: Francie loves her father dearly. Johnny knows how to show Francie his love, as well, as opposed to her mother. Katie does not know how to show Francie her love. Francie overhears how her parents met. This little eavesdropping gives Francie a taste of adult romance.

Book 2, Chapters 7-14

Love 2: Katie Rommely and Johnny Nolan got married very young. Katie stole Johnny from her best friend, Hildy O'Dair, because she wanted him and thought he was cute. Because of their young love and their quickly growing family, Katie works every day of her life.

Love 3: Katie admits that she will love her baby boy more than the baby girl she already has. She knows it is not right, but she plans to live her life accordingly. This love for children is different than the young love between two people of the opposite sex.

Love 4: Sissy's sexual and romantic scandals breed their way into the Nolan family, much to Katie's dismay. People think that Sissy is "bad," because she has many lovers and expresses her love openly. Although Sissy shows her love romantically to many people, she also has so much love to give to her family.

Book 3, Chapters 15-42

Love 5: Upon his first glance at Katie, Sergeant Michael McShane falls in love. He asks Francie about her and keeps communication strong with the Nolan family throughout the novel.

Love 6: Francie learns about the dangers of "love." She sees Joanna's trouble after loving a man before marriage. She also sees the cruelty of women because of it. She doesn't see Joanna's trouble from love (an illegitimate child) as being so wrong.

Love 7: Francie becomes a teenager and starts to think about sex. She is curious about the physicality behind love and wants to know more. She realizes that sex is part of love.

Love 8: McShane sees Katie Nolan again and vows that one day she will become his wife. He still loves her throughout the years, even though she does not necessarily love him in return. They have a cordial and respectful relationship over the years, while he secretly loves her.

Love 9: A young Italian girl named Lucia gets into trouble because of love and is left pregnant. Sissy feigns a pregnancy and plans to keep Lucia's baby as her own. Sissy loves children and wants one of her own so dearly. The love she has for a baby is so strong that it overcomes all other odds.

Love 10: Francie gets her first touch of romance as young Albie Seedmore asks her out on a date. Nothing happens with him; however, Francie is transforming into a young woman who yearns for love. Francie also receives roses from her deceased father, remembering how much she loved him and how much he loved her. He cared enough to give Sissy money years in advance to make sure that Francie felt loved and special at her graduation, in case he couldn't be there. The bond that Francie and Johnny share is a strong father-daughter bond of love that cannot be broken, even in death.

Book 4, Chapters 43-54

Love 11: Francie feels lonely with Johnny gone and also wishes for male companionship. Sissy falls in love with her husband of five years after the marriage catastrophe splattered all over the papers. Love is re-explored in this section of the book: Sissy finds it again and Francie wants to find it.

Love 12: Francie meets Ben Blake and immediately falls for him. He seems perfect in every department. The two get along well as great friends and educated colleagues.

Love 13: Francie falls desperately in love with Lee Rhynor and promises her life to him, only to find out later that he played a joke on her and marries his fiancee soon after he leaves New York. This encounter with love damages Francie for future relationships. She knows she will move on, but she also knows she will never forget the pain.

Love 14: McShane proposes marriage to Katie and offers financial security for her family. His long-lived love is finally returned. He plans to start a new life with Katie and love her.

Book 5, Chapters 55-56

Love 15: As Francie gets ready to attend the University of Michigan, Ben tells her that he wants to marry her in the future. She knows he will not betray her like Lee; however, she is not sure. She does love him, but she wants him to need her. She has years to decide whether or not she will marry Ben.

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