A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn


Betty Smith

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The physician who gives Francie her smallpox shot. He attended Harvard and has plans to join “a smart practice” in Boston when his internship is over. He currently has to put in a few hours per week at the free clinic. The doctor is a snob who does not only recoil from the sight of Francie’s dirty arm—the result of making mud pies that morning—but uses it to launch into a tirade about how the poor should be sterilized. When Francie responds with outrage, he registers surprise that she was able to understand him, assuming that she would be an immigrant who could not speak English. In the end, he is indifferent and shrugs in response to her hurt.

The Doctor Quotes in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The A Tree Grows in Brooklyn quotes below are all either spoken by The Doctor or refer to The Doctor . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn published in 1943.
Chapter 18 Quotes

A person who pulls himself up from a low environment via the bootstrap

route has two choices. Having risen above his environment, he can

forget it; or, he can rise above it and never forget it and keep compassion

and understanding in his heart for those he has left behind him in the

cruel upclimb. The nurse had chosen the forgetting way. Yet, as she stood there, she knew that years later she would be haunted by the sorrow in

the face of that starveling child and that she would wish bitterly that she

had said a comforting word then and done something towards the saving

of her immortal soul. She had the knowledge that she was small but she

lacked the courage to be otherwise.

Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn PDF

The Doctor Character Timeline in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The timeline below shows where the character The Doctor appears in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 18
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
Class and Snobbery Theme Icon
The nurse pulls up Francie’s sleeve and swabs her arm. The doctor makes his way toward her, with the needle poised. He stares at her arm in... (full context)
Poverty and Perseverance Theme Icon
Class and Snobbery Theme Icon
...the needle goes into Francie’s arm, she doesn’t feel it. She is too hurt by the doctor ’s words. While the nurse ties a strip of gauze to her arm, she speaks... (full context)