Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 11 and 12

Originally uploaded by barbfecteau.
Chapter 11 is where we see Johnny as a man with a real problem. He is an alcoholic. Sissy understands the mechanics of the disease and manages to help him. There is a great quote that describes Sissy's "failings" - that she is a "great lover and a great mother."

Katie on the other hand comes clean about her main reason for wanting Johnny - "The whole thing was I wanted to get him away from someone else." I can't tell if that's the truth or if that is just her way of shying away from the embarrassment of Sissy talking about sex.

In Chapter 12 Katie must move because she is shamed by Johnny's drunkenness. This seems crazy to me and I think that one of the points of this book is how much of their suffering is brought about by shame. As a matter of fact, when Mary (Katie's mother) is sprinkling holy water around the apartment she is saying "schoen" ("beautifully" according to babelfish) which Francie repeats as "shame".

The Nolans are now on Lorimar Ave which is in Williamsburg, near Greenpoint. To get an idea of where these places are - and to see some pictures of these neighborhoods today you can go to The Bridge and Tunnel Club.

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