A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Questions and Answers
by Betty Smith

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In what chapter does Francie realize that she can succeed in spite of her background in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

There are several chapters in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in which Fraicie realizes that she can succeed in spite of her background. Some examples include her realization of the opportunities she has after transferring to a better school in chapter 23 and her realization of the power of money to change her circumstances in chapter 43.

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The central image of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the "Tree of Heaven," which will grow anywhere its seeds fall but is only found in Brooklyn's poor neighborhoods. Francie is compared to the Tree of Heaven several times throughout the course of the novel; like the tree, which grows gradually, Francie's understanding of her own power to change her circumstances grows gradually as well.

We can find a "seed" of this understanding in chapter 12, when Francie's mother Katie moves herself and her two children to a house where they can live rent-free as long as Katie does the cleaning. Katie makes the move because she realizes that she cannot rely on her husband Johnny...

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