Daily Archives for: February 22nd, 2021

Francie Nolan: Coming of Age in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The coming of age of a strong  female protagonist was a surprisingly common theme in mid-20-century literature by women authors. At a time when women’s progress suffered setbacks, perhaps the pages of books were an  outlet for repressed ambitions and desires. Francie Nolan, the gentle, relatable heroine of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is considered in this excerpt from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in mid-20th Century Women’s Fiction by Francis Booth. Reprinted with permission:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943), the first published novel by Betty Smith (1896-1971) is a wonderful example of the female bildungsroman, following the central character Francie Nolan in an epic sweep from age eleven to seventeen. Beginning in summer 1912, the story centers around Francie and her Irish immigrant family, living in a Brooklyn slum where the children pick rags to make a few cents. Read More→


Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses Comments: (0)