The Nolan's are a young family, living in Brooklyn, New York. The members of the Nolan family are the main characters in the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, written by Betty Smith. Johnny, Katie, and their two children Francie and Neely portray how life was in Brooklyn during the late 1800's and early 1900's. This family is forced to make many important decisions, as all families must. However, the best outcome is not the end result.
Before the birth of Katie and Johnny's first child (Francie) the couple lived a stress free life. Johnny and Katie lived and worked together, happily married at the age sixteen. They worked the night shift together at a school, where they put items away as well as cleaned classrooms. They enjoyed this job since they had time to laugh, relax and dance, while working, not to mention they had the entire day before them where they could do whatever they pleased. Upon the expectancy of their first child, everything drastically changed. Katie's pregnancy rendered her unable to perform certain janitorial tasks.
The Nolan's could no longer work the night shift, since Johnny could not do it alone. Johnny could not work their night shifts alone. They were forced to quit their once convenient occupation as janitors. Johnny decided he would have to find a new job.
He chose to follow his past, working as a Singer and Waiter as he had done before until his marriage to Katie. The decision which Johnny made that I felt could have been a wiser one, was his decision to work as a waiter at a restaurant which had a bar. The reason I feel this was not a good choice was because it placed Johnny in an environment which made him vulnerable to drink. Because of his immense liking of alcohol he had a tendency to 'overindulge'. This was a problem because he would not use his money in the wise ways it should be used in. Johnny would spend his tips on drinks, leaving only his non-steady nights pay to bring back to his family.
Since he never knew how many nights he would be scheduled to work, his tips were a valuable source of income. When the Nolan's were now raising their two children on a single income and already poor, Johnny not bringing home his entire earnings was a definite 'misfortune' for the children. Francie and Neely got very little food and wore raggy clothes. If Johnny had not chosen the Singer and Waiter occupation, then the Nolan's could possibly have been better off. Johnny's remarkable singing talent, could have landed him a better career as a performer if he tried to sing on stage. He could have taken a few vocal lessons, and he could possibly made it all the way.
However if for some reason he did not make it to the stage he could " ve at least found a steadier job, then being a Singer and Waiter, and spending a good portion of his money on alcohol. If there was no way in which Johnny could have avoided his current job, he could have at least made sure all his earnings went home. If he hadn't spend his money on alcohol then his family could have a better lifestyle. Including more food on the table. Also he could have used that money he didn't bring home to pay the rent. So that Katie didn't have to scrub floors, cleaning bathrooms and houses of the manager of the flat in order to equal the cost of the rent.
Since this laborious task was very hard on Katie. The Nolan's do manage to survive and figure out ways to live as happy as possible. But they could have been living a much easier life if a better decision had been made. A little more thought and a little more dedication could have altered the Nolan's lifestyle completely This book helped me realize that no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse when you allow sin to be involved..