A_Tree_Grows_in_Brooklyn_5 (1).ppt - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn By Betty Smith Presentation by Abby Sharp HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1900-1919 The Progressive

A_Tree_Grows_in_Brooklyn_5 (1).ppt - A Tree Grows in...

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Unformatted text preview: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn By Betty Smith Presentation by Abby Sharp HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1900-1919 The Progressive Era Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt (19011909) P. William Taft (1909-1913) R. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) D. Controversies of Era Legal: Women’s suffrage was a major issue in the early 1900s (Jennings 26). Controversies of Era Medical: “In 1918, a pandemic of influenza hit the world, causing more deaths than in WWI” (Poindexter). Economics of the Era In the late 1800s and early 1900s, America became a more urban industrialized nation (Issacson 56). Lifestyles of the Era Work: Spring of 1911- A fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory; 146 teenage women (workers) perished (“Tables”). Lifestyles of the Era Family: Many children had to quit school to work in order to help support their families (Jennings 21). Lifestyles of the Era Education: “In 1900, the average American only had five years of schooling” (Jennings 16). Gender Roles of the Era Education: The number of women who were choosing higher education instead of marriage increased (DuBose 79). PLOT BLURB Nolan family: Katie, Johnny, Francie, Neeley and Annie They live in poverty Johnny is an alcoholic and often shames the family Francie likes learning and she is a good student Johnny dies on Christmas, before Annie is born Francie and Neeley must work (finished 8th grade) Neeley (mom’s favorite) gets to go to high school Katie marries a wealthy man and Francie is finally able to go to college CHARACTER LIFE DECISIONS Francie decides to leave her town Katie decides to send Neeley to school and Francie to work Johnny decides to put alcohol ahead of his family’s welfare Francie decides to leave town to start a better life Francie realizes that she has to leave or “suddenly she would be a disgusting old woman without teeth” (Smith 15). Historical Connection The number of women who were choosing higher education instead of marriage increased (DuBose 79). Katie’s decision to send Neeley back to school Katie wants Francie to work because Francie “will find her way back to education, while Neeley does not want to go to school” (Smith 250). Historical Connection Many children had to quit school to work in order to help support their families (Jennings 21). Johnny decides to put alcohol ahead of his family On his twenty- first birthday, “Johnny’s drinking problem brings shame on the family and forces the family to move (Smith 302). Historical Connection “One of the major factors leading to the prohibition of alcohol… was the increase in men spending their salaries on liquor…” (“Tables”). MOTIFS Life and Growth Love Life and Growth Francie sees that “a new tree had grown from the stump and its trunk had grown along the ground until it reached a place where there were no wash lines above it. Then it started to grown toward the sky” (Smith 483). Love With regards to Johnny, “Francie kissed his cheek softly and said that she loved her papa so much” (Smith 34). INTERPRETIVE QUESTION Do you think that American children today are more or less likely to suffer from abuse and poverty than Francie? Children today are less likely to suffer from poverty and abuse There are more laws in place to protect children Nonexistent in the early 1900s, labor laws, truancy laws, and child protective services now lessen the exploitation of children Textual Support #1 One example of Francie’s exploitation is when “Francie needed to go back to work in order for her to help her mother pay the bills” (Smith 249). Textual Support #2 In the case of a potential abduction, Smith writes, “The man came up to Francie and was about to take her away with him until her mother came to her rescue” (Smith 170). Textual Support #3 In addition to Francie working to help support her family, “…kids collected money for the family by trading in old junk” (Smith 15). AUTHOR FOCUS & ORB CONNECTION Author Focus White wrote 70 plays before writing a novel She wrote 4 novels Born in 1896 to Austrian immigrants As a child, she was “bookish” and had a close relationship with her father After father died, White had to work (8th grade) When old enough, she left NY and enrolled in Univ. of Michigan Met her 1st husband there She had 2 daughters… went back to school when they were older Became famous in 1945 (movie of novel) Died at 72- best known for her 1st novel ORB Connection #1 “She [Elizabeth] was a bookish child and developed an early love for the theater, influenced by her actor father….the Wehners led a marginal existence, especially after the death of the father” (Jones). Francie also enjoyed school and reading Francie also had a close relationship with her father Nolans also devastated by fathers’ death ORB Connection#2 After her father’s death, “Elizabeth, later known as Betty, had to quit school after the eighth grade and find work” (Dawson 422). Francie was unable to continue school She also had to work to support the family Francie fought to return to school, like White LITERARY CRITICISM Criticism #1 “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a profoundly moving novel, an honest and true one. It cuts right to the heart of life” (“Tree”). I disagree (somewhat): Moving story Outdated issues Criticism #2 “This is the first novel of uncommon skill and almost uncontrollable vitality and zest for life” (Prescott 423). I agree: Novel wellwritten Reader cares about characters Francie = tree (strength and growth) Transcendence of Themes “The journey of the protagonist is heroic. Francie clearly identifies with the Tree of Heaven in her urge to continue to develop into a young woman that she can be proud of. Smith’s use of the tree as a symbol of Francie’s growth is effective and powerful” (Prescott). This concludes my presentation… THANK YOU! ...
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