A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Poverty a Key Component

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Woman Pages: 6 (2273 words) Published: January 14, 2013
Journal Entry #1- Chapter 1-10: Poverty:
Poverty is defined as the deprivation of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs. It means insecurity, powerlessness and exclusion of individuals, households and communities. It means vulnerability to violence, and it often implies living in fragile environments, without access to clean water or sanitation. In short poverty is simply a lack of money, a barrier to everyday life. One third of deaths in the world are due to poverty related causes.

Poverty is a big problem in America. I personally have never had to experience the hardships that poverty brings people. That doesn't mean I don't know what it can do to families. Poverty can either make or break a family. It can force closer and helps them find the strength to carry on, or it can tear them apart by causing arguments about money and food.

Poverty is a key component in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In this novel characters constantly think about how poor they are. They are always thinking about how they will but their next loaf of bread, or what one neighborhood looks like compared to another. Every activity and game is planned around a limited amount of resources. The main characters aren't the only people going through hardships in the novel. The whole community has to face what the Nolan's are facing. Children are forced to collect garbage off the streets and sell it. After the children have collected their pennies store owners take advantage of them. They sell them candy and have them play games that they will never win. The games are always rigged so that the children won't win and the store owners will keep making money. The Nolan children are better than most when it comes to saving money. Neeley and Francie would split the money in the most fair way they could. Neeley was in charge of the money though, "'Eight cents for the bank.' That was the rule; half of the money they got from anywhere went into the tin can. 'And four cents for you and four cents for me'" (Smith p 8-9). No matter how hard they tried poverty followed them everywhere they went.

Journal Entry #2- Chapter 11-20: Education:
Education can be formal or informal. Formal education is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Informal learning is used to describe learning that is done independently.

At a young age, education was the worst thing in the world for me. As I got older education became so much more than that. Education has always been a big part of my life. I was always pushed to do better and better when it came to grades in school. I'm very grateful for that because now if you don't have an education you don't have a job.

Johnny and Katie had completely different personalities, but when it came to education they had the same views. Francie and Neeley both had the opportunity to get an education. In the novel you can clearly see that Francie was more excited for school, "School say were anticipated by Francie" (p142). School wasn't anything that Francie thought it would be. Francie would never be a teacher's pet. Only the girls with freshly curled hair and new silk hair bows would get that privilege. The school was very full as well. Three thousand children crowded into a school that was supposed to be for one thousand. The teachers weren't qualified and were very mean. The cruelest teachers were the ones that came from the same area that the children did. Not all of their teachers were horrible though. There were those occasional nice teachers, but they never lasted long. Francie liked school despite all of the meanness, cruelty, and unhappiness.

Their education wasn't just learning arithmetic, they also took piano lessons with Miss Lizzie and Maggie Tynmore. Katie also took lessons from the Tynmores. Francie and Neeley never really paid attention, but...
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