What does she learn from these things?
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Francie learns that school and an education mark the "way" out of the poverty she lives in. Unfortunately, she has a hard time making friends, and she replaces people and relationships with books. She also learns through experience that the teachers in her school are often mean to the poorest children.
The Tree of Heaven symbolizes the lives of the people who live in Francie's neighborhood, but even more importantly it symbolizes Francie's childhood. She learns from the tree that it's possible to grow up tall and strong without having much...... the tree has no light, and Francie has no monetary advantages.
The Junk Shop, or should we say Carney, teaches Francie about survival and tolerance. He helps out the kids in the neighborhood by buying their garbage, and all he wants in return in warmth and friendship. Francie doesn't share the penny she earns for a pinch on the cheek with her brother...... that penny came from a friend.
The apartments, I'm not sure about those, but I'm going to do a bit of reseaqrch on that now...... see if I can find anything.
A Tree Grows in Brokklyn