A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by

Betty Smith

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Mary and Thomas Rommely’s second daughter and the sister of Katie, Sissy, and Evy. She is dull, plain, and rather indifferent to life. She enters a convent at the age of sixteen, due to Mary’s feeling that she owes the Church one of her daughters, and becomes Sister Ursula under “a very rigid order of nuns.” She is only permitted to leave the convent if one of her parents dies. Thus, Francie sees her just once, when she is nine, at Thomas’s funeral. When Francie meets Aunt Eliza, she is excited because she, too, wants to be a nun. She recoils from her aunt, however, when she sees “a fine fringe of hair on her upper lip and chin,” believing that all nuns have this characteristic.
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