Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Chapter 28

By Betty Smith

Chapter 28

  • To Katie Rommely life goes by very quickly, and she often says things like “Christmas will be here before you know it” (28.1). To a small child, this is definitely not the case—it feels like nothing short of forever between Christmases.
  • When Francie is eleven, time starts to speed up for her too, which she thinks might have to do with Henny Gaddis dying. She knew that he was going to die, but she thought it would happen in the distant future. Now that this future has arrived and soon will become the past, Francie realizes how fast time actually goes by.
  • Francie’s life changes in other ways, too:
    • She realizes that Mama is not necessarily always right like she used to think, and that there are some things she loves about her father that other people don't necessarily love too.
    • The beautiful scales at the tea store aren’t as beautiful as she once thought, and she sees that the bins where they keep the spices and coffees are kind of shabby.
    • She starts thinking of Mr. Tomony (the rich man who she used to watch come home late from his adventures in the city) as a weirdo.
    • She feels like everything is changing, but eventually realizes that everything is the same; she is the one who is changing.
  • Papa says it is because she is growing up, but growing up spoils a lot of things for Francie. She realizes that the expedition game Mama plays is just a trick to get them to stop thinking about how hungry they are, and growing up also makes her more aware of when a show she is watching is terrible. She is a more informed audience member now who doesn’t just love everything like she did when she was less informed.
  • One good thing about not liking some of the shows she sees is that it inspires her to go home and rewrite some of them. By doing this, she realizes that she wants to be a playwright when she grows up.