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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 23

Summary One day as she wanders through Williamsburg, Francie comes across a different school and instantly falls in love with it. When she tells her father about it, he agrees to go and see it with her. He also works out a way for Francie to attend the school if he approves. Since a child is required to go to the neighborhood school, he says that they must pick out a number on a nice house near the school; then Francie must use that number as her own address. When Johnny sees the school and Francie's excitement about it, he agrees that she can go there. He reminds her that it will be a long walk for her each day, but Francie promises that she does not mind.

Francie loves her new school, which is very different from her first one. Both the students and the teachers seem kinder. Everybody even loves the janitor, Mr. Jenson, who acts like a father to all the children. Even the principal of the school respects Mr. Jenson and values his judgements. Francie is also delighted to learn that Mr. Morton and Miss. Bernstone also teach in this school.


Notes

Attending the new school begins a new chapter in Francie's life. She finds that both the teachers and students are much nicer, and the atmosphere is more conducive to learning. She also learns that she can rise above the poverty of her neighborhood and experience a better way of living. Additionally, she is delighted to learn that Mr. Morton and Miss Bernstone also teach at the new school.

The chapter highlights again the close relationship between father and daughter. When Francie sets her heart upon joining the new school, she tells her father, not her mother, about it. When Johnny sees her excitement, he comes up with a plan to allow her to attend; even though it is not legal, he tells her to choose a nice house close to the school and use it as her own address. Like Sissy, Johnny will bend the rules to make Francie happy. In contrast, the practical Katie does not see any reason for Francie to change schools. She will not even pack her daughter a lunch, but insists that she make the long walk home for lunch each day. Katie claims that Francie must be taught to "take the bad along with the good."

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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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