Two Peas in a Pod

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C.S. Lewis, am extremely popular fantasy writer, once said, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides, and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” Both novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith, have become beloved novels for people of all ages. Betty Smith uses honesty to cast on the experiences of people from around the world and all different circumstances, while Mark Twain adds the humor of children and their intelligence. Although in the novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the setting, such as the city life or the tenement building, tells the reader a lot about Francie, it is the little details and moments throughout the story, such as family, knowledge, the fall from innocence, and love, that reminds people of their own lives. Despite the fact that Tom Sawyer and Francie Nolan seem extremely differently, they are actually quite similar in many pivotal ways, such as their journey to maturity, their unique personality, and their dreams. It is clear that Francie Nolan undergoes a self discovery throughout the novel as she tries to endure the difficulties of living in Brooklyn, where there are high levels of poverty and deprivation; although Tom Sawyer does not have to live in a slum environment, he does, in fact, overcome several obstacles that lead to a tremendous transformation in his character as goes on a quest for his identity. As Tom is tricking Ben Rogers, his friend, into another one of his shrewd scams, the episode goes, “‘Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?’ The brush continued to move. ‘Like it? Well I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?’ That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tow wept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said: ‘Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little,’” (Twain 23). As described in this well known whitewash scene, Tom was an imaginative and astute young boy with a melodramatic personality that relied primarily on antics and pranks to get what he wants and to escape from trouble, as well. Unlike Francie, Tom barley took anything earnestly and did not have any real conflicts in the beginning; Francie being the quiet girl who sat on her balcony Saturday morning reading, Tom was her exact opposite when the novel begins for he was often the leader and most of the time the organizer of the childhood pranks that took place in the safe and the bright town of St. Petersburg. As Francie, her brother, and her father were trying to haul up their humongous tree they won at the annual tree-catching event, their mother stood and watched them progress really slowly up the stairs as she thought of how she was planning to save her children from their harsh life, “‘They think this is so good,’ she thought. ‘They think it’s good—the tree they got for nothing and their father playing up to them and the singing and the way the neighbors are happy…They can’t see that we live on a dirty street in a dirty house among people who aren’t; much good. Johnny and the children can’t see how pitiful It is that our neighbors have to make happiness out of filth and dirt,’” (Smith 206). As Francie becomes older, she begins to congregate information about the poverty dominated world she lives in; as she beings to lose her virginity, poverty becomes less chaste, and she has to face the reality of hardship, such as her father’s death. Unlike Tom Sawyer, Francie’s strong desire to succeed is cut off because poverty interfered in her ambitions; Tom Sawyer’s economic condition was never a problem and it hardly put a restriction on his adventures as he moves from one...
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