A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Paper

901 WordsNov 26, 20124 Pages
I. Intro paragraph a. Hook: In the Irish American community of Brooklyn in the 1900’s, immigrants faced discrimination and crushing poverty b. In the world that Betty Smith describes in “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” however, this poverty is depicted as a kind of virtue, a force that causes individuals to grow, and families to bond c. Yet, while female characters like Katie and Francie grow from overcoming the hardships brought on by poverty, Francie’s father Johnny Nolan is defeated by it and ends up dying of alcoholism. In the 1900’s, gender roles and social expectations of men and women were more rigid than today, and both sexes were supposed to stay within gender boundaries d. In telling the story of Katie and…show more content…
But poor Johnny just wouldn’t harden.” (P.98) iii. Johnny grew up with the gender stereotype of the man of the house being the “breadwinner”, and in the Irish American community in Brooklyn, he cannot fulfill this role. III. 2ND Body paragraph i. Yet, Katie has no choice and even though the cleaning job she finds does not pay well, she goes out to work ii. In contrast, Katie, Francie’s mother, is able to overcome poverty because she breaks down the gender stereotypes of what a married woman should do in her time; Katie goes out of the house to work. At that time, were expected to stay home and be cared for while caring for the children iii. Yet, Katie has no choice and even though the cleaning job she finds does not pay well, she goes out to work. Thus, as she faces poverty, we see Katie rise to the challenge by being flexible. In contrast to Johnny, she is able to experience poverty as a learning experience and change. At one point she says to passersby, “Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.” IV. 3RD Body paragraph a. Johnny and Katie Nolan, exemplify a theme of gender difference in the overcoming of poverty for immigrants i. Katie is flexible and able to adapt, so she eventually obtains a better life. She does not stay

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