Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 13 & 14

Originally uploaded by barbfecteau.
In chapter 13 we are shown Francie's play-life. We find the seeds of her imagination and isolation. There is an interesting look at how girls play that makes an argument for why Neelie is so much less solitary than Francie.

Betty Smith is excellent at knocking out the last paragraph to really pull at the heartstrings. I love the one for this chapter about the men singing in the backyard: "They were bums and they were hungry and they didn't have the talent for song-making. All they had in the world was the nerve to stand in the backyard with cap in hand and sing loudly."

Oh Sissy, Sissy, Sissy... Chapter 14 is the telling of the tale of the tricycle and the balloons.

First of all, when the policeman walks them around the block he talks about his wife. Maybe he has ulterior motives, but he still is appropriate.

Now just to be clear here - the balloons in questions are condoms. At this point in time birth control was illegal - you could go to jail just for writing about it, and Sissy worked in a condom factory. In chapter 5 it talks about how Sissy's rubber factory made its profits from "other rubber articles that were bought in whispers. So this is why the Nolan's move again, and banish Sissy from their lives. Once again, shame is what tears apart the delicate balance of their happiness.

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