Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Allusions

By Betty Smith

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

Irish Folk Songs

  • “Molly Malone” (This song is frequently sung by Papa when he returns home at the end of the night.) 
  • “Annie Laurie” (15.31, 40.148)
  • “Call me Up Some Rainy Afternoon” (15.36)
  • “Sweet Adeline” (15.36)
  • “My Wild Irish Rose” (54.23)

Songs of the time period:

  • “She May Have Seen Better Days” (9.5)
  • “I’m Wearin’ My Heart Away For You” (9.5)
  • “Blue Danube” (13.59)
  • “School Days” (23.42)
  • “You’re a Grand Old Flag” (25.26)
  • “Come Little Leaves” (35.40)
  • “Welcome, Sweet Springtime” (35.41)
  • “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (42.88)
  • “Auld Lang Syne” (46.46.26)
  • “A Shanty in Old Shantytown” (49.52)
  • “When You Wore a Tulip” (49.52)
  • “Dear Old Girl” (49.52)
  • “I’m Sorry I Made you Cry” (49.52)
  • “Over There” (49.53)
  • “K-K-K-Katy” (49.53)
  • “The Rose of No Man’s Land” (49.53)
  • “Mother Machree” (49.54)
  • “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (49.54)
  • “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (49.54)
  • “The Band Played on” (49.54)
  • “Some Sunday Morning” (52.106-113)
  • “Till We Meet Again” (52.115-120, 55.60)
  • “Hello, Central, Give Me No Man’s Land” (55.5)
  • “There’s a Quaker Down in Quaker Town” (55.7)
  • “You’ll Find Old Dixieland in France” (55.14)
  • “For When My Baby Smiles at Me” (55.58)
  • “There are Smiles That Make You Happy” (55.59)

Literary References

Biblical/ Catholic

  • Confession (6.26)
  • Purgatory (12.47)
  • Begat (13.13)
  • First Communion (28.17)
  • The Virgin Mary (34.22)
  • Gethsemane (42.6)
  • Father, son, and Holy Ghost (47.60)

Historical References

  • Abraham Lincoln (1.60, 41.35)
  • The Mayflower (23.14)
  • Big Chief Tammany (24.6)
  • Dr. Frederick Cook (25.40)
  • Woodrow Wilson (41.18-23)
  • Charlie Chaplin (41.26)
  • Corset Payton (41.26)

Art References

  • Mona Lisa (24.46)