Life

“Don’t say that,” Katie held her baby tightly. “It’s not better to die. Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.”

“Aw, somebody ought to cut that tree down, the homely thing.”

“If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful,” said Katie. “But becuase there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is. Look at those children.” She pointed to a swarm of dirty children playing in the gutter. “You could take any one of them and wash him good and dress him up and sit him in a fine house and you would think he was beautiful.”

“You’ve got fine ideas but a very sick baby, Katie,” they told her. “This baby will live,” said Katie fiercely, “I’ll make it live.”

Insert from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith Pp 76.

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