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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 13

Summary

Katie is delighted that the new house is in a better part of Williamsburg. There is always something going on, and the neighborhood is often filled with music and dance, as the organ grinders play their tunes and the band drums out its beat. Katie now allows the children to spend most of the summer outdoors, with Francie keeping an eye on Neeley. The two of them have become very close.

As time passes, Johnny works less and drinks more. In contrast, Katie works harder than ever. After cleaning all day, she comes home and works some more. She then spends time with the children, reading to them every night. Francie absorbs every word, becoming brighter than the neighborhood children. She is more mature and talks in a more grown-up way than the others. Because she is intelligent and different, Francie does not have many friends; as a result, she often feels lonesome. In order to have companionship, she creates friends out of her imagination.

In spite of the poverty, Katie manages to save a little money, and the pennies begin to accumulate. Occasionally she will take some money out of the tin bank in order to fulfill the needs of her children. She is then reminded of her poverty and the monotony of her existence; but she is still determined that Francie and Neeley will have a better life.


Notes

In this chapter, the children are shown as they grow up. In the safer neighborhood, Katie even allows them to play outside, with Francie keeping an eye on Neeley. A close bond has developed between sister and brother.

It is also noted that Francie is an eager learner. As Katie reads from the Bible and Shakespeare, Francie listens carefully to every word. Before long, it is obvious that she is more intelligent and educated than the neighborhood children. As a result, she does not have many friends; instead, she creates imaginary ones.

In this chapter, Francie develops her love for music, inherited from her father and his side of the family. The neighborhood is always teeming with song and dance. There are constantly bands and organ grinders to be heard, and Francie always enjoys them. She thinks that perhaps she would like to become an organ guider or join a musical band.

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