Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Chapter 6

By Betty Smith

Chapter 6

  • Neeley gets home, and he and Francie get very specific instructions about where to go get some meat for the week.
  • Their first stop is to get meat at Werner’s.
  • Francie negotiates with the butcher to get ten cents worth of chopped round steak. The butcher is annoyed with her, and his overreactions to Francie’s requests come across as a bit comical to Shmoop. What do you think? For example, when she tells him that her mama wants it ground, he replies “God-dam it to hell!” (6.12 ).
  • Next, it’s off to another butcher, Hassler, for a soup bone. Neeley waits outside with the chopped meat they got from Werner’s because if Hassler sees that they got their chopped meat somewhere else, he will be irritated and tell them that they should get their bones at the same place. Francie orders a five cent bone with some meat on it to make a soup for Sunday dinner. The butcher cuts off a nice, thick piece of liverwurst and gives it to Francie for free. Francie feels bad that they deceived this nice guy, and she wishes that Mama trusted him for their other meat, too.
  • Next, they go to the grocer to get some veggies for the soup.
  • After they get home, Maudie Donovan comes over so they can walk to confession together.
  • After confession, Francie buys an ice cream sandwich and splits it with Maudie as they walk home.
  • When Francie gets home, her Aunt Evy and Uncle Flittman are visiting. Francie likes Aunt Evy because she reminds her of Mama
  • Francie and Neeley have to do two things before they go to bed each night: (1) They have to read a page from the Bible; and (2) they have to read a page from Shakespeare. This is the law of the house, and to save time they split the chore: Neeley reads the Bible and Francie reads Shakespeare.
  • On Saturdays, Francie is allowed to sleep in the front room. She pushes two chairs together and lies there watching people out the window and listening to the sounds of the house.
  • She hears her father singing Molly Malone around 2:00AM, and they all get up to chat and eat together around the kitchen table.
  • Neeley goes back to bed shortly after they eat, and Francie goes back to the front room. She stays awake and listens to the comforting sound of her parents talking the night away in the kitchen.
  • She sees Mr. Tomony, the wealthy owner of the pawn shop, come home from his adventures in the city. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Mr. Tomony since he is very wealthy but chooses to live above the pawn shop surrounded by the poor.
  • Francie loves Sundays so much and hates to go to sleep knowing that it will end such an awesome day.
  • She dreads the weeknights when she has to sleep in her room where she can hear what happens in the apartments around her. Specifically, she hates to hear the sounds of one particular young couple. She describes the sounds of a young wife who cries every night after her husband forces himself on her. This makes Francie sick. She tries to focus on enjoying the few remaining moments of her Saturday, and she eventually drifts off to sleep listening to her parents reminiscing about when they first met.