Study Guide

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Perseverance

By Betty Smith

Perseverance

“If at first you don’t succeed (we all know the ending here, right?) try, try again.” That could be the mantra of many characters in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Those with the most determination and perseverance are the biggest winners overall—the ones who reach their goals. Look at Mama; she works through so many obstacles to get her children educated and off to a better life. It’s the same for Francie, too—she is determined to meet her goals even when it seems like she just can’t catch a break. Maybe the author wants us to consider the role that perseverance plays in a person’s ability to get away from poverty.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Would you say that Grandma Rommely has perseverance even if she didn’t achieve her goal? Why or why not?
  2. Things definitely don’t go easily for Mama in achieving her goal for her children. How does she respond to the conflicts that get in her way?
  3. Does Mama set goals for herself? How does she handle her own personal stumbling blocks?
  4. Francie has a tough time reaching her goals, too. What are the things that set her back when she wants to get a good education? How does she overcome obstacles?
  5. How does Sissy show the importance of perseverance?

Chew on This

In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, perseverance is the key to getting out of poverty.

Persevering though challenges makes people appreciate their achievements more than if things come easily.