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Summary When Francie comes to work on April 6, 1917, she notices a freshly printed newspaper on her desk and is stunned to learn that the United States has joined the war. A few days later, some plain- clothes policemen catch a German spy in the office. Soon the firm's business begins to decline. After a few months, the owner sells firm, and Francie is out of a job. When she is unable to find a reader's job anywhere else, Francie settles for a lesser paying one in a communication center. She must leave for her new work at four o'clock in the afternoon, returning home about two o'clock in the morning.
Katie suggests that perhaps Francie can work at night and continue her education in the day, but Francie no longer wants to go back to high school. She does, however, decide to apply for some college courses, which she can attend in the daytime. When she is accepted, Francie is thrilled to be in college.
The declaration of war, though inevitable, is still a shock to Francie and causes her to have a "crying jag." The effects of war are immediate and disastrous for Francie. Her company is sold, and she has to search for another job. Unable to find similar work, she accepts a night-time position in a communications center at a lower salary. The one advantage of the new job is that she has time during the day to pursue her education. Although she no longer wants to go to high school full time, she applies to take some college courses in the summer and is thrilled to be accepted, especially since she does not have a high school diploma. Her first day at college is refreshing, and she knows that she is going to enjoy herself.