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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 34

Summary Even though Sissy is unable to have a healthy baby, she still longs for one and decides that she will adopt the baby that Lucia, a young, unwed girl, is carrying. Knowing that her husband does not approve of adoption, she lies to him, saying that she is going to have a baby. First she simulates morning sickness. Then when Lucia has labor pains, Sissy takes to the bed and pretends she is ready to deliver herself. As soon as her husband leaves for work, Sissy runs to Lucia's house and learns that she has given birth to a baby girl. When her husband returns from work in the evening, Sissy tells tell him that she has given birth to a baby girl. She then explains that the baby had to be put in an incubator in the hospital since she was premature. Ten days later, Sissy brings home Lucia's baby, pretending it is her own. Her husband has no choice but to accept the baby.

The only person that Sissy tells the truth about the baby is Katie. She, in turn, tells Johnny, who clearly disapproves of the whole scheme. He even dares to question if Francie and Neeley have also been adopted. Katie is furious about his questioning. She tells him to look at his children and see whom they look like. When Johnny thinks about her answer, he feels repentant for his doubt and apologizes to Katie. Katie then reveals that she is pregnant. Johnny is disturbed but does not say anything; he simply leaves the house. When he returns home very late at night, Francie opens the door for him.


Notes

This chapter highlights Sissy's desperation for a baby and what she will do to get one. Her make-believe pregnancy, nausea, and labor pains are revealed in a hilarious way. Although her husband rightfully doubts her pregnancy, when she comes home with Lucia's baby, he says nothing. When Katie tells Johnny what has happened, he has a very negative reaction to Sissy's scheme; it even makes him doubt his own children's parentage. Katie scolds him for his disbelief.

Katie's pregnancy is unplanned. Obviously upset by the news, considering their poor financial state, Johnny leaves the house without saying anything. He returns very late that night.

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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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