Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Chapter 12

By Betty Smith

Chapter 12

  • Embarrassed by how the whole neighborhood knows about the whole scene with Johnny, Katie decides that they have to move away.
  • It is not like Johnny is any worse than many of the guys who live there, but Katie wants the Nolans to be better than that.
  • There is a problem, though, because they have very little money and two kids.
  • Katie solves this problem by finding a place where she can work for their rent. That way, even if they have nothing else, they will have a roof over their heads.
  • Johnny doesn’t want his wife to be a janitress, but Katie basically tells him to shove it. Katie is hardening—she is to be tough to survive.
  • Katie gets their few belongings packed and finds an ice deliveryman who could load everything in his wagon to move it to the new place.
  • The last thing she does before leaving is rip up the can in the closet. She has three dollars and eighty cents in it and will have to give the iceman one dollar for moving their stuff.
  • The first thing she does when Johnny is distracted helping move in the furniture, is nail the can down in the closet. Katie is a woman on a mission.
  • Her mother, Mary Rommely, comes over and sprinkles holy water around the apartment to make sure that no evil spirits lurk there, which Francie thinks is pretty cool. She ends up dumping all the holy water on herself and everyone has a good laugh, which Mary sees as a good sign.