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Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” Quotes (47 Quotes)


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  • It was a good thing that she got herself into this other school. It showed her that there were other worlds beside the world she had been born into and that these other worlds were not unattainable.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • Sometimes I think it's better to suffer bitter unhappiness and to fight and to scream out, and even to suffer that terrible pain, than to just be... safe. At least she knows she's living.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • It was so simple that a flash of astonishment that felt like pain shot through her head. Education! That was it! It was education that made the difference! Education would pull them ut of the grame and dirt.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • Suffering is also good, it makes a person rich in charachter.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • It was the last time she'd see the river from that window. The last time of anything has the poignancy of death itself. This that I see now, she thought, to see no more this way. Oh, the last time how clearly you see everything; as though a magnifying light had been turned on it. And you grieve because you hadn't held it tighter when you had it every day.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")


  • The library was a little old shaby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church. She pushed open the door and went in. She liked the cmbined smell of worn leather bindings, library past and freshly inked stamping pads better than she liked the smell of burning incense at high mass.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • Katie had a fierce desire for survival which made her a fighter. Johnny had a hankering after immortality which made him a useless dreamer. And that was the great difference between these two who loved each other so well.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • The neighborhood stores are an important part of a city child's life.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • Money! Would that make it better for them? Yes, it would make it easy. But no, the money wouldn't be enough… That means there must be something bigger than money… An answer came to Katie. It was so simple that a flash of astonishment that felt like a pain shot through her head. Education!
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • The Nolan's just could't get enough of life. They lived their own lives up to the hilt but that wasn't enough. They had to fill in on the lives of all the people they made contact with.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • New York! I've always wanted to see it and now I've see it. It's true what they say-- it's the most wonderful city in the world.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • The world was hers for the reading.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • No, Katie never fumbled. When she used her beautifully shaped but worn-looking hands, she used them with surety, whether it was to put a broken flower into a tumbler of water with one true gesture, or to wring out a scrub cloth with one decisive motion--the right hand turning in, and the left out, simultaneously. When she spoke, she spoke truly with the plain right words. And her thoughts walked in a clear uncompromising line.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • There are very few bad people. There are just a lot of people that are unlucky.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")


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