In the first 14 pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the tree is introduced as a symbolic element in the story. The tree sprouts switches and pointed leaves, and whenever it drops seeds, other trees spring forth into life. Francie's life is much like the tree--even though she lives in a rough neighborhood and her family is not well to do by any means, she manages to maintain her desire to be educated and to keep hope for the future.
The tree as a symbol also relates to the lives of others in history and in contemporary times. There are stories of people who have beaten the odds to get where they are in the world. Relating the theme of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn through the symbol of the tree to a contemporary event may hook an audience.