As Francie Nolan grows up she becomes more objectively aware of the deprivation and the generally unfair conditions of working-class life. From the start she sees the defeated, fatalistic attitude of her alcoholic father, Johnny, but accepts it as inevitable, like a force of nature. As he tries to explain to her the reasons for his drinking, she patiently answers, "Yes, Papa," and at this point she's too young to understand the deeper reasons for his fatalism. But within Francie, even at this early stage, there is a will to get beyond the poverty of her milieu and to flourish in her own way.
Later, especially after the death of her father, her awareness of the emptiness inherent in the general conditions of life around her becomes sharper. But at the same time, another side of Brooklyn, Francie's sense that it's somehow a place imbued with a kind of magic, is also objectified. It coincides with her awareness of herself as a young woman, and of her own special character that she knows will enable her to break free of the constraints of her upbringing. Her ambition, symbolized for instance in her wish to read every book in the library from A to Z, has been present from the beginning of the story when she is much younger. By the close of the novel, however, she recognizes more firmly that she, like the eponymous tree, can flower and thus achieve success in spite of her background of deprivation and poverty.