Why is it the biggest problem? What might Francie's obsession with order—from systematically reading the books in the library from A through Z, to trying every flavor ice cream soda—in turn say about her circumstances and her dreams?
What might she be trying to say? How is the symbol used differently each time? How can modern readers reconcile the frequent anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant sentiments that characters espouse throughout the novel?
And why is it that the librarian never got to know Francie when she is in there every single day? It is through reading and writing that children will understand the world and, in addition, their aspirations will be extended beyond the district of tenement buildings. What lesson was Francie learning here?
Why are some people like Francie able to get out of poverty while others seem hopelessly trapped? The spirit of pride and the need to adapt, which the tree also represents, continues, though, as a new tree grows from this original stump.
How would the book differ if it was told from Neeley's perspective?
This decision also reinforces the didactic message of the novel, which constantly reiterates the value of a good education for all in the public school system. And then she starts her novel that day about ficticious Sherry Nola.