Throughout the course of the novel, Francie Nolan, the protagonist, has to make several important decisions. Two of them relate to her commitment to her family and to her education. Francie was a bookish child who persuaded her parents to support her changing to a better school. After her father died, however, it seemed unlikely that she would be able to continue learning in the way she desired. The practical realities of life meant that her mother alone could not support the children. The key decision that Frankie makes is to leave school, dropping out to generate income, which will help support her family. Her younger brother also has to earn money, but their mother allows him to stay in school. Although Francie’s decision proves irrevocable, it does not ultimately stop her pursuing an education. While she does not re-enter high school, she also later decides to continue her studies and earn college credits. Her decisions to quit work, leave home, and attend college all follow from that determination.