Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Betty Smith

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

What gets the Nolans out of poverty at the end of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? What gets Francie into college? While it's partly due to having big dreams, hopes, and plans (you can't really achieve something that you can't even conceive of), they don't exactly sit back on the couch daydreaming about what they want while eating Doritos. Sure, they dream and plan—but then they work, work, and work some more until they get what they want. Sometimes they don’t achieve their dreams exactly how they expected, but they do get there. The dreams, hopes, and plans keep their minds from getting trapped in the crummy present, keeping them afloat by imagining a world that is better than their current one. It gives them something to work toward.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. Besides reading and saving for land, what else is part of Mary Rommely’s plan? List at least two other things and explain whether or not you think they are important to creating a good life for the children.
  2. Sissy is a character who dreams big despite suffering failure after failure. What is her dream? What steps does she take to achieve it? What works and doesn't work?
  3. Francie’s goal to attend high school has to be modified. Is this a blessing in disguise?
  4. Why don’t Papa’s dreams come true?

Chew on This

Dreams, hopes, and plans are essential in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. They motivate the Nolans to do great things with their lives.

In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, dreaming big dreams is not enough. Work ethic is much more important.