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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 31

Summary The year of Francie's thirteenth birthday is an eventful one. Most significantly, World War I begins, even though Francie is not greatly affected by it. In addition, Aunt Evy has a love affair with a horse named Drummer. Although he is a work horse, used by Evy's husband in delivering milk, Evy treats it as a pet. She talks to the horse and washes him in warm water.

Flittman, Evy's husband, does not get along with the horse. One day Drummer kicks him, and Flittman has to be hospitalized for several days with a fracture. Evy tells her husband that she will deliver the milk for him in his absence. Drummer enjoys being with Evy as he works. When Flittman returns to deliver the milk, Drummer refuses to work with him. As a result, Flittman is assigned to another route, with another horse, and Drummer is given away. From time to time, however, the horse returns to Evy's house to be stroked and given a lump of sugar.


Notes

This chapter does nothing to advance the plot, and little mention is even made of Francie; instead, it merely describes a comical phase in Aunt Evy's life. Evy takes a special interest in Flittman's work horse, named Drummer; she grooms the horse, bathes it, and talks to it. As a result, Drummer grows fond of Evy and resents Flittman. One day the horse kicks Flittman, causing him to be hospitalized with a fracture. While her husband is in the hospital, Evy does his milk deliveries for him. Drummer is very pleased not to have Flittman around, for Evy is much more pleasing. Then when Flittman returns to work, the horse refuses to cooperate with him. Finally, Flittman asks for a transfer away from the horse, and Drummer is given to a new owner.

Within the chapter, Evy shows herself to be a fun-loving, affectionate, and humorous woman. When she enacts earlier episodes or conversations, it is hilarious, and Francie loves listening to her. How different she is than her sister, Katie!

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