Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
That night, Mom opens Ally's bedroom door to check on her. Ally explains how Jessica and Shay roped her into making fun of Albert and says she feels awful. Mom tells Ally that she can decide who she wants to be and says that mistakes happen. She encourages Ally to apologize to Albert.
Notice how Mom deals with this admission: she doesn't make Ally feel bad, she just redirects Ally's behavior. This offers a roadmap for how adults should deal with the places where students make mistakes.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
The next morning, Ally is drawing a pigeon wedding in her notebook and wondering how to apologize to Albert when she notices Keisha behind her. Keisha compliments the drawing, which embarrasses Ally. Ally admires Keisha's thin braids, reaches out to touch them without thinking, and feels horrible again when Keisha is offended. She explains to the reader that sometimes her body does things she can't control.
Keisha's compliment suggests to Ally that she should take more pride in her artistic abilities than she currently does. Meanwhile, Ally's impulse control problems show the reader again how her dyslexia keeps her from appearing normal to her classmates.
Themes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Albert walks in, looking upset. Ally goes to him to apologize. He insists that the teasing didn't bother him and that he's actually upset about something else. Ally is amazed he's not upset about the bullying and thinks that whatever's bothering him must be really bad. She offers to help and, finally, Albert says that he can't figure out how fast an insect is going if it's flying forward or backwards inside a moving train car.
Remember that for Ally, reading and writing are the only things up there with bullying that are awful. Albert's very different priorities remind Ally that her classmates are simply different—which isn't a bad thing but means that she'll need to be more empathetic if she wants to connect.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally sees a mind movie of a dragonfly inside an old-timey train car. She sees ladies in fancy dresses and a young girl with her mother. That girl wants to ride horses and do things, not just wear pretty clothes. When Ally comes back from her mind movie, she thinks about how that girl feels angry and held back from doing things she wants to do. Ally wishes she could help her.
Ally's mind movie shows how she thinks of herself as being trapped by her learning disability. Thinking that she'd like to help this girl (a symbol for herself) shows that Ally is becoming ready to tackle her learning disability and start to think about it differently.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
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