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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 40

Summary Because of her pregnancy, Katie has taken to bed, leaving Francie in charge of the house. When she is impatient with her, Francie asks her mother if she would rather have Neeley take care of her, since he seems capable of comforting her more. Katie tells her that during birth men should never be around to watch. She fears if a male sees such pain and agony, he will never again be able to feel close to the woman who has given birth.

When Neeley comes back from running errands, he is sent to bring Evy, for Katie's labor has begun. When Evy arrives, she takes charge and gets everything ready for the delivery. Sissy too arrives. Francie is sent out on an errand, and when she returns, Katie has given birth to a girl. Katie tells Francie that she should write the baby's name, Annie Laurie, in the Bible. She will be called Laurie. Francie thinks the name is too ordinary.


Notes

The birth of the third child in the Nolan family and Francie's reactions are described in this chapter. Although Francie is pleased to at first be in charge, she is unsure whether she can handle the situation adeptly. When Katie snaps at her in irritation, Francie is hurt and questions whether her mother would prefer to have Neeley with her. The belief that Neeley is more loved than she is deeply ingrained in Francie. Katie, however, strongly feels that no male should witness the pain and agony of the birth process.

When Katie's labor starts in earnest, Neeley is sent to bring Evy. Sissy also arrives. As a result, Francie is relieved of her duties and is sent away from home to spare her from the pain of the actual delivery. When she returns, Francie learns that her mother has given birth to a baby girl, named Annie Laurie. Although Francie is disappointed in the name, which she feels is too common, Katie has chosen it from one of the songs that Johnny used to sing, in remembrance of him.

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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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