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Betty Smith Quotes (54 Quotes)


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  • Intolerance is a thing that causes war, pogroms, crucifixions, lynchings, and makes people cruel to little children and each other. It is responsible for most of the viciousness, violence, terror, and heart and soul breaking of the world.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn")

  • She had heard Papa sing so many songs about the heart; the heart that was breaking - was aching - was dancing -was heavy laden - that leaped for joy - that was heavy in sorrow - that turned over - that stood still. She really believed the heart actually did those things.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • It doesn't take long to write things of which you know nothing. When you write of actual things, it takes longer, because you have to live them first.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • She was surprised at how tiny the school seemed now. She supposed it was just as big as it had ever been only her eyes had grown used to looking at bigger things.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • It meant that she belonged some place. She was a Brooklyn girl with a Brooklyn name and a Brooklyn accent. She didn't want to change into a bit of this and a bit of that.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")


  • She went out and took a last long look at the shabby little library. She knew she would never see it again. Eyes changed after they looked at new things. If in the years to be she were to come back, her new eyes might make everything seem different from the way she saw it now. The way it was now was the way she wanted to remember it.
    (Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn")

  • 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")


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