A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. What is the meaning of the novel's title? How does the tree function as a symbol throughout the novel?

2. Who seems stronger in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the male or female characters? Cite examples from the book.

3. What connection could be made between Francie's early writing—including the stories that her teacher rejects—and Smith's work in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?

4. Neither Lee Rhynor nor Ben Blake seems to be the type of man that Francie wants. What kind of man does she want?

5. Many girls and women are traumatized for years by a rape attempt. Who or what helps Francie recover from an attempted assault?