Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Featured Brooklynite of the Week.

Francie Nolan
as portrayed by Peggy Ann Garner
in Eli Kazan's 1945 adaptation of
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

"Brooklyn was a dream. All the things that happened there just couldn't happen. It was all dream stuff. Or was it all real and true and was it that she, Francie, was the dreamer?"
~Betty Smith 
Chapter 55, pg. 467

It seems that the Featured Brooklynite of the Week category is shaping up to be one of considerable flexibility.  So far, we've had an Early 20th century Hollywood Diva, a group of mulish old men, a documentary film making genius, and now a fictional schoolgirl from WWI era Williamsburg slum.

Francie Nolan is the central character of Betty Smith’s celebrated novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The story revolves around Francie's turn-of-the-century existence as the daughter of a two young impoverished first-generation Americans, one of German, the other of Irish decent.  Francie is a combination of her headstrong mother's strength and her alcoholic father's zest for life. As such, she becomes a very sensitive, intelligent and motivated young woman who goes on to pursue her dream to be a writer. After working hard as a young girl, surviving her beloved father's death, a broken-heart, and poverty, Francie grows into a young woman with unlimited potential.

"She was made up of all of these good and these bad things...She was the books she read in the library...Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie's secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father staggering home drunk...She was all of these things and of something more...It was something that had been born into her and her only."
Chapter 8, pg. 71

For these reasons Francie - and by proxy, her creator, Betty Smith (a true-to-life, non-fictional Brooklynite) are worthy of this week's honor.

1 comment:

rosemary said...

brava!!!! bellissima!!!

she's the best,

okay so I propose a FB stickering campaign all over the boro

spreadin the poop on all the condos, nat'l food stores, and dog hair salons!!!

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