Francie Nolan is a mix of Nolan and Rommely, but is also part just herself; she has traits that come from neither family that she acquires through her own observations and reading.

The chapter begins when Johnny and Katie are first married, living in Brooklyn and working as night janitors in a public school. They are very much in love and enjoy their time at night alone together. Then Katie gets pregnant and their blissful lives are tainted with worry.

The December night that Katie goes into labor, Johnny gets so worried and confused that he leaves to find comfort in his family. Falling asleep, he misses both the birth and his job. Francie is born with a caul, which supposedly indicates a child who will do great things. Johnny brings Katie two avocados, and begins to cry when he sees her, out of fear and angst. He does not tell her right away that he has been fired from his job for neglect. Katie feels terrible that he has to suffer so much.

They name Francie after Johnny's brother Andy's fiancée. Mary Rommely gives Katie all kinds of warm and good advice: Katie must read one page a day to her daughter from Shakespeare and the Protestant Bible. She must allow Francie to have imagination. Katie should start a money bank, where she will save a nickel a day so that one day she may own her own land. This is how Mary Rommely's children and grandchildren will live a better life than their parents—a dream that Mary believes is possible in the new world.

Sissy visits, bringing lots of good food. She starts the bank for Katie, buys a Shakespeare collection from the library, and steals a Protestant Bible from the hotel where she's sleeping with her current lover.

Analysis

These chapters are a flashback from the summer of 1912 in Book I. The omniscient point of view in this novel allows the author to give the reader information about Francie that even Francie herself may not know. Although we have already met Francie, and know about her life as an eleven-year-old girl, these chapters fill in the history before her birth. While chapters seven and eight both concern Katie Rommely's and Johnny Nolan's families a generation before, chapter eight ends by describing Francie. The narrator explains how Francie has inherited characteristics from each side of the family. This conclusion to the family history suggests that it is told for the specific reason of explaining to the reader why Francie is the way she is.