A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by

Betty Smith

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Ruthie Nolan Character Analysis

The mother of Johnny Nolan and his deceased brothers, Andy, Georgie, and Frankie. She is also the paternal grandmother of Francie and Neeley. A Catholic and an Irish immigrant, Ruthie migrated to the United States from Ireland with her husband, Mickey. They have four sons, born a year apart. She gets them all to the sixth-grade before pulling them out of school at twelve so that they can get jobs.
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Ruthie Nolan Character Timeline in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The timeline below shows where the character Ruthie Nolan appears in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...generation.” After Andy Nolan dies, the boys swear that they will never leave their mother, Ruthie. Six months later, Johnny marries Katie. Johnny’s choice earns Katie her new mother-in-law’s hatred. Ruthie... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
...to Katie, who is in labor all day. He goes to see his mother, but Ruthie uses the occasion to complain about how Johnny will never return to her with a... (full context)
Chapter 36
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Katie, Ruthie Nolan, Francie, and Neeley ride out to the cemetery in the first coach behind the... (full context)