Alcoholism In A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

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Alcoholism is a severe addiction that indubitably affects one’s familial relationships, and which can tear families apart. In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Johnny, the father of protagonist Francie, is a serious alcoholic. Due to his drunkenness, he is often out of work, leaving him unable to support his family. Consequently, he is often viewed as a subpar father, who is unable to provide for and care for his children. However, despite Johnny Nolan’s severe drinking issues, he is still successful as a father overall because he is always well-meaning in his actions and he’s supportive and present when Francie truly needs him.
Johnny is always kind-hearted in his intentions, despite how it turns out in the end. To illustrate his true virtue, when he becomes worried that his children have not seen enough of the world, he decides to “take them for a rowboat ride at Canarsie and do a little deep-sea fishing” (Smith 221). The trip ends up failing, as he falls in the water and one of the children becomes sick, but he truly intends for them to have an exciting new experience. If he is ill-meaning, he wouldn’t have even gone through the trouble of planning the trip. Similarly, when trying to relieve Francie of the discomfort she felt after her attempted attack, Johnny ends up chemically burning her leg.
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By using his bright personality and his affectionate nature, he accomplishes providing the emotional support and well-intended actions necessary of a quality parent, even if he is often unable to work and stay sober. In life, a single flaw may seem to dictate one’s entire life and personality. In reality, a person is much more than that an individual imperfection, and even the best people can still contain major flaws. By not generalizing the mistakes of others, it is possible to see people how they really are- instead of by their

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