Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Coming of Age

By Betty Smith

Coming of Age

Francie starts A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as an eleven year old girl, and then through a flashback, we go even farther back in her life than that. Actually, we go all the way back to when her parents first meet. When the book ends, she is a young woman preparing to go study at the University of Michigan. So, not surprisingly, a whole lot changes for Francie during this coming of age story. She not only transitions from child to adult, but also out of poverty and into a new class, plus her immediate family looks a lot different at the end than it did at the beginning, too.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. In what ways is Francie like her Father? Why?
  2. In what ways is Francie like her Mother? Why?
  3. What are two things that Francie values most in her life? How do you know?
  4. When does Francie realize that she should be a writer?

Chew on This

At one point, Francie wonders if growing up is just disappointment after disappointment. She is right.

Growing up is painful at time, but ultimately it leads everyone in the book toward happiness.