23 March 2011

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

It is 99 years from the fictional start of the book. Francie Nolan's family were intensely poor. There is no glamor in how they lived. But there was an intense economy and gratefulness for those things they had. I would not welcome that level of privation. But I would welcome, as a society, that level of thrift, and a focusing of resources on those things that are important.

"The one tree in Francie's yard was neither a pine nor a hemlock. It had pointed leaves which grew along green switches which radiated from the bough and made a tree which looked a like a lot of green umbrellas. Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement. It grew lushly, but only in the tenement districts."
-Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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