Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ally is very excited for the holiday concert. She got a new dress and her first pair of shoes with a heel. Ally thinks that she loves to sing but doesn't like the music teacher, Mrs. Muldoon, because she's prone to blowing up. Backstage, Shay makes fun of Albert's ill-fitting clothes. Keisha stands up for Albert, but Shay insists some people deserve to be pulled down. Albert helpfully notes that, logically, a person who is pulling another down is already below their victim. Keisha laughs and insults Shay, and then Mrs. Muldoon lines everyone up.
The shoes with heels indicates that Ally is growing up and beginning to mature, which quietly orients this book as a coming of age novel. This then foreshadows that Ally will learn how to think more positively about her reading problems and start to find her place in the world, possibly with the help of Keisha and Albert, given that they seem to be Shay's prime enemies.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Last year, Ally got to stand in the front but now that she's grown, she gets to stand in the back next to Keisha. She admires how Keisha stood up for Albert and wishes she could be brave. Ally decides to focus on the happy fact that all the girls get to carry flowers and ignores that Jessica's father donated them.
Remember Mom's counsel that Ally can choose the kind of person she wants to be. By admitting she admires Keisha, it shows that Ally is reorienting the type of person she'd like to be to someone braver and kinder, like Keisha.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Mrs. Muldoon hands out beautiful bouquets. Keisha smells hers and then brushes her fingers over the blooms, which accidentally breaks off a bud. Mrs. Muldoon rips the flowers away from Keisha, accuses her of being disrespectful, and says Keisha will be the only girl without flowers. Shay snidely says that people get what they deserve, and Ally hears Keisha sniff. She watches a mind movie of Mom's sad face if Ally were the only girl without flowers. Ally meets Mrs. Muldoon's eyes as she rips her bouquet in half and gives half to Keisha. Neither girl carries flowers that night, but they have the biggest smiles.
With the bouquet taken away, Ally doesn't even have to try to ignore that the flowers came from Jessica's dad—in other words, this event allows Ally to move even further away from the bullies and towards Keisha and genuine caring and friendship. Notice too that Ally seems unconcerned about getting in trouble here. This suggests that there are times when "misbehaving" is worth it to make a point.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon