Betty Smith Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 141 quotes)
Our family used to be like this strong cup? thought Francie.?It was whole and sound and held things well. When papa died, the first crack came. And this fight tonight made another crack. Soon there will be so many cracks that the cup will break and we'll all be pieces instead of the whole thing together. I don't want this to happen, yet I'm deliberately making a deep crack.
Dear God...let me be something every minutes of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere--be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost." - A Tree Grows in BrooklynEdit
Yes, when I get big and have my own home, no plush chairs and lace curtains for me. And no rubber plants. I'll have a desk like this in my parlor and white walls and a clean green blotter every Saturday night and a row of shining yellow pencils always sharpened for writing and a golden-brown bowl with a flower or some leaves or berries always in it and books . . . books . . . books. . . .
When the strong healthy boy, howling at the indignity of the birth process, was put to her breast, she felt a wild tenderness for him, The other baby, Francis, in the crib next her bed, began to whimper. Katie had a flash of contempt for the weak child she had borne a year ago, when she compared her to this new handsome son. She was quickly ashamed of hr contempt. She knew it wasn't the little girl's fault. "I must watch myself carefully," she thought. "I am going to love this boy more than the girl but I mustn't ever let her know. It is wrong to love one child more than the other but this is something that I cannot help.
If what Granma Mary Rommely said is true, then it must be that no one ever dies, really. Papa is gone, but he's still here in many ways. He's here in Neeley who looks just like him and in Mama who knew him so long. He's here in his mother who began him and who is still living. Maybe I will have a boy some day who looks like Papa and has all of Papa's good without the drinking. And that boy will have a boy. And that boy will have a boy. It might be there is no real death.
If I open this envelope fifty years from now, I will be again as I am now and there will be no being old for me. There's a long, long time yet before fifty years...millions of hours of time. But one hour has gone already since I sat here...one hour less to live...one hour gone away from all the hours of my life.
There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly . . . survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.
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," said Katie. Aw, somebody ought to cut that tree down, the homely thing," said the midwife. If there was only one tree like that in the whole world, you would think it was beautiful," said Katie. "But because 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.
And that’s where the whole trouble is,” thought Francie. “We’re too much alike to understand each other because we don’t even understand our own selves. Papa and I were two different persons and we understood each other. Mama understands Neeley because he’s different from her. I wish I was different in the way that Neeley is.” “Then everything’s all right now between us?” Katie asked with a smile. “Of course.” Francie smiled back and kissed her mother’s cheek. But in their secret hearts each knew that it wasn’t all right and that it would never be all right between them again.