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MonkeyNotes-A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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Chapter 53

Summary Francie writes to Lee the same night that he departs and eagerly waits for a reply. When she finally receives a letter, it is from Lee's wife, who informs Francie that they were married the day after Lee returned home. She apologizes for her husband's foolishness and thanks her for being nice and friendly to him. Francie is devastated. Her mother tries her best to console her, but knows that words are not enough to soothe her daughter's aching heart.

After Francie has a good cry, Katie reveals that she has received a letter from Sergeant McShane, stating that his wife has died and asking for permission to call on her next week. Katie asks Francie whether she would like to have McShane as a father. Francie reprimands her mother for reading too much into the letter and proposed visit.

Later that night, Francie decides to write a letter to Ben. After she completes it, she tears it up. She says, "I don't want to need anybody."


Notes

Francie's first experience with love and its failure are traumatic for her. She is crushed to learn that Lee really did not care for her. As soon as he left Brooklyn, he returned home and married his fiancée. For the first time in the book, Katie truly tries to console her daughter. Even though she knows that words will not really help Francie, she tells her that time will erase the unhappy memories of Lee. She also tells Francie about the letter she has received from McShane and reveals her romantic side. Even though McShane has not called on her, Katie is thinking about marrying him. The practical Francie reprimands her mother for reading too much into the letter.

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