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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 49

Summary Francie begins her studies with diligence and is able to master chemistry and Restoration drama; French, however, is very difficult for her. Her classmate, Ben Blake, helps her with her lessons, and she soon realizes that she is in love with him. Francie is very sad when he leaves at the end of the summer session; she often feels lonely, missing Ben and the time spent with him.

Francie decides she wants to continue her college studies and graduate, but she is denied permanent admission because she lacks a high school education. She learns, however, that she can continue her studies and graduate if she passes the regents' entrance examination. When Francie takes the examination, she only passes the chemistry section; but she makes up her mind to try again next year. In the interim, she is put on the day shift on her job, and her pay goes up to $17.50 per week.

In the background of this chapter is the war. Francie notices more and more men, even some of the young ones from her neighborhood, wearing military uniforms. When she walks past a group of them, she realizes that they are singing sad songs.


Notes

Francie really enjoys her summer courses in college and does well in chemistry and drama. When she struggles with her French lessons, Ben Blake, an attractive, bright, and organized fellow student, helps Francie. Not surprisingly, she falls in love with Ben and is miserable after he leaves at the end of the summer. Francie is also disappointed to learn that she cannot be accepted as a permanent student in the college. Since she does not have a high school diploma, she must pass an entrance examination in order to become a regular student. Unfortunately, she passes only the chemistry section of the exam. She is determined, however, to take it again and do better. Francie definitely wants to continue in college and graduate. In the meantime, she is glad that she has been promoted to the day-shift at work and given a raise in her salary.

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