The book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, written by Betty Smith is the story of a young girl that grew up in a poor family in Brooklyn. Along with the young girl, Francie, lived her alcoholic father, Johnny, her hardworking mother, Katie, and her lovable, younger brother, Neeley. In the book, an observation was made of a "tree that grows in Brooklyn". The book described it like this: "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 grew out of cement...survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth." (P. 3,4) Francie could be compared to a "tree that grows in Brooklyn" in that she grew without many necessities that other young girls grew up with, just as the tree grew without the necessity of sun and water.
To begin, one necessity that Francie grew up without is love from her father and mother. She knew that her mother would never love her the same way she loved Neeley. She lived her whole life knowing that her mother loved Neeley more than she loved her, so she was never showed what a mother's love was like. "I am going to love this boy more than the girl but I mustn't ever let her know," thought Katie. (P. 94) The only love she saw from her mother towards her children was what she observed from her love towards Neeley. She did receive love from her father, though, but that was only for the short time that they spent together. After Francie's father died, she could no longer experience that love. All she had were the memories, and so she grew up seemingly unloved.
To continue, adequate food and shelter was another necessity that Francie grew up without having. Francie's family was very poor, so many times they had to go for periods of time when they didn't eat or ate very little. For example, many times Francie's mother played a game with her children where they were supposed to be traveling to the North Pole, so they had to go without eating until they had reached it. In reality, they could not afford food right then, so they had to go without eating until they had money. Also, Francie was noticeably too thin and dirty as the book said, "Francie smelled up the whole classroom." (P. 159) Later, she was also described as "a thin ragged child." (P. 170) Francie did not get to experience what it would be like to always have enough food to eat and a clean place to live.
Finally, Francie did not have any friends her age when she grew up, because they all neglected her. She longed for friends, but no one would befriend her for different reasons. Some ignored her for being poor or dirty and others for other reasons. "She yearned for playmates but did not know how to make friends with the other little girls. The other youngsters avoided her because she talked funny." (P. 108) The bad treatment that she received from girls when she grew up caused her to dislike girls and not want any girls for friends. She was never able to experience "playing house" and other games that little girls have the opportunity to play with their friends. Many times Francie cried because of the pain caused by the children her age and her longing for acceptance and companionship. "And Francie did cry. Not for all the names called but because she was lonesome and nobody wanted to play with her." (P. 109)
In conclusion, in many ways Francie could be compared to a "tree that grows in Brooklyn" by the certain necessities that she lacked when she grew up just like the tree grew without the necessity that it had for food, water, and soil. She grew up without true love from her mother and only able to experience the love from her father until he died while she was still young. Another way was that Francie was raised in a poor family and had to survive without the comforts of a nice home and enough food. Also, almost all of Francie's peers neglected her, leaving her lonely and hurt. She survived, though, and was strengthened because of the hardships that she had endured. Francie's misfortunes made her stronger and she lived just as the "tree that grows in Brooklyn" grew out of cement and survived without sun and water. The reader is shown how blessed they are after reading about what Francie and her family lived without and still survived.