Atlas Obscura is highlighting trees all this week in what they call, appropriately, Tree Week. Among posts about living trees and historical trees, they also pay tribute to trees in fiction. It’s only natural, as literature has been dependent on trees for a thousand years. They bypassed the most obvious choices (The Giving Tree) and introduce us to some literary trees you might not have thought of, like the Tree of Heaven from the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
The so-called Tree of Heaven grows outside the window of Francie Nolan, a second-generation Irish-American girl coming of age in Brooklyn at the turn of the century. Just as Francie and her family struggle against the odds to make a life for themselves, the tree too manages to prosper without water, light, or care. Francie grows from a girl to young woman under the harsh conditions of tenement life, enduring poverty, assault, loneliness, and betrayal. Through it all, she maintains a deep and abiding inner strength. Like Francie, the tree that grows out of the cement in Brooklyn is tough, tenacious, and blossoming against all odds. It’s the kind of tree you root for.
Read about six other literary trees at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Tao Tao Holmes)