A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by

Betty Smith

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Sergeant Michael McShane Character Analysis

A local police officer to whom Katie is attracted and eventually marries following Johnny’s death. An Irish immigrant, McShane stayed with a family shortly after his arrival whose daughter got pregnant by a man who then left her. McShane married the girl to save her honor, and they had fourteen children together—ten of whom died of tuberculosis. Following the death of both his wife and Johnny, McShane begins courting Katie with the intention of marrying her. Francie notes that he is not as handsome as Johnny was but is impressive nonetheless. He is fifty when he proposes to Katie, who is nearly thirty-five. McShane is also financially comfortable, with a pension and real estate that altogether bring him about ten thousand dollars in income per year. The marriage plans are settled immediately, with McShane also offering to adopt Annie Laurie and to give her his name.
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Sergeant Michael McShane Character Timeline in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The timeline below shows where the character Sergeant Michael McShane appears in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 24
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...a woman next to her who the man is. She says that his name is Sergeant Michael McShane . The woman is surprised that Katie doesn’t recognize him; he works at her local... (full context)
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Katie asks Johnny if he knows about Sergeant McShane . Johnny says that he is nicknamed the Honest Cop. He also notes that it... (full context)
Chapter 32
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
...Willie gets a new horse, Bessie, who does worse than wet on him. In July, Sergeant McShane brings Johnny home when he is “sick.” The Nolans spend the first week of July... (full context)
Chapter 33
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...girl’s brother, who is so nervous when he answers, that they arrest him on suspicion. Sergeant McShane , however, only does this to throw off the killer, awaiting him to strike again.... (full context)
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Sergeant McShane comes around some days later, looking for Katie. He hands her an envelope of money... (full context)
Chapter 36
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
...return the next day and they go to look for him. On the second night, Sergeant McShane takes Katie to the Catholic Hospital and tells her, as gently as he can, that... (full context)
Chapter 53
Gender, Sexuality, and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Katie then mentions that she, too, received a letter from Sergeant McShane , announcing that he will pay the family a visit the following week. Francie gets... (full context)
Chapter 54
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Class and Snobbery Theme Icon
When Sergeant McShane comes to the Nolan house, it is the first time that Francie has seen him... (full context)
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
Romanticism vs. Pragmatism Theme Icon
Sergeant McShane makes it clear to Francie and Neeley that he doesn’t wish to replace their father,... (full context)