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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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BOOK III

Chapter 15

Summary Katie feels that the new house is a better place. In the yard is a lovely, tall tree that reaches up to the second story. There is also a piano that has been left behind by a previous tenant. When Johnny sits on the stool and plays a tune, it brings tears to Francie's eyes.

Katie is also pleased that the neighborhood school is right across the street. When Francie sees a young girl come out of the school to dust erasers, Francie approaches her, wanting to befriend her. The girl does not want to be friends with Francie; she taunts Francie and spits at her.

Katie tries to decorate the house. She hangs lace curtains in the windows, places souvenir cups and pictures of the Rommely sisters on the shelf, and puts a bright green carpet on the floor. She also displays a conch shell, which Francie likes to hold up to her ear; she believes she can hear the sound of the waves in the shell. When Johnny takes the family to Canarsie, Francie sees the sea for the first time and is overjoyed.


Notes

This chapter gives a detailed description of the new house, which Katie decorates with great care. She thinks the house is much better than the previous ones because of the nice tree in the yard and the parlor. Since all of the Nolans love music, they are particularly pleased that the house came with a piano; when Johnny plays a tune on it, it brings tears to Francie's eyes. Katie also feels tender towards her husband when she hears him play; it is the first time in a long while that she has had such feelings, for she has been upset with Johnny for his drinking and joblessness.

In spite of his weaknesses, Francie is devoted to her father. Realizing that her mother is too busy to be kindhearted and is also partial to Neeley, Francie turns to her father for affection and love. In truth, Johnny is the most important person in her life at this time, for she has no friends. When she sees the girl come out of the school, Francie eagerly approaches her, hoping to make a friend. The girl, however, is very rude and spits at Francie. Other children look down on Francie because of her obvious poverty.

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