A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by

Betty Smith

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Tree Grows in Brooklyn can help.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Chapter 50 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Aunt Sissy expects her baby in late November. Sissy says that she will have the baby at a hospital and a doctor will deliver it. This is a first in the Rommely family. The birth is the same as all of the others, but when the baby comes out, Sissy closes her eyes. When she opens them, she sees that the baby is still and blue. The doctor calls for oxygen. She watches him work on the baby and believes that she is seeing a miracle when the baby boy comes back to life. When Sissy asks Dr. Aaron Aaronstein if he is sure the baby will live, he shrugs and says, “Why not?” Sissy kisses his hands and names the baby Stephen Aaron.
Sissy breaks with her past tradition of using a midwife, perhaps partly to see if her luck will change by doing things differently and also, perhaps, because she now thinks that the attention of medical professionals could ensure her next baby a better chance of survival. She closes her eyes, as though making a wish. She is surprised that her child has survived. Not understanding the science involved, she thinks it’s a miracle.
Themes
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Uncle Willie tries to join the army and fails. At the same time, he quits his job with the milk company and declares himself a failure. Steve is working as a foreman at a munitions factory and gets Willie a job there. With his first check for overtime work, Willie buys a bass drum and a pair of cymbals. He then starts to manipulate other instruments in his effort to form a one-man band.
Willie tries to take yet another job that will help him fulfill his role as a husband and a father. The money that he earns also gives him the money to afford new instruments so that he can dedicate more time to what he loves—music.
Themes
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon