Image provided by Lindsey Bell

Lindsey Bell

Affiliation with UVic English: Alumni, B.A. 2012

Special Book: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Betty Smith

When did you first read this book: 2002

Which sentence from this book has special significance for you?

“The one tree in Francie’s yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which gew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked like a lot of opened green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that gew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenement districts.”

What does the sentence mean to you?

This passage occurs within a few chapters and seems to me to really sum up the descriptive and poetic qualities of the novel. The Tree of Heaven is never in the foreground of the novel, but keeps reoccurring through Francie’s story in early twentieth century Brooklyn. Francie