Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Keisha flounces to her seat, annoyed because Mr. Daniels asked her to do a paper again since she can do better. Ally realizes she's never heard this from Mr. Daniels and it suddenly bugs her. She wants to fit in and be told that what she's submitting isn't good enough, since she knows it isn't good. Mr. Daniels hasn't asked Ally to write in several days, even though she's not wearing the fake sling anymore. She doesn't know if she's ready to admit she can't write or if she wants to keep pretending. Ally writes something without even trying to get it right and then gives it to Mr. Daniels directly. He looks at it briefly and then tells her to put it in the assignment cubby. Ally walks away without taking it.
Ally's discomfort when she realizes that Mr. Daniels isn't picking at her indicates that shifting her thinking to truly trust Mr. Daniels will be a difficult process, as she's not quite sure at this point where this is all going. However, writing without trying to make it right is likely a valuable evaluation tool for Mr. Daniels, as he'll be able to see how Ally's mind wants to write when she's not trying to fix it. In other words, this will likely go on to help Ally.
Themes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
In the cafeteria, Keisha addresses Albert and says she wants to talk about his Flint shirt. He corrects her that he has five of the same shirt. Keisha goes on to say that she searched for Flint and discovered that it's a place in Michigan, a rock, and a kind of sneaker. Albert looks uncomfortable. Finally, with gentle prodding from Ally, Albert says that Flint is a Star Trek character who goes to his own planet, makes robots to protect him, and left Earth so he'd be free from unkind people. Albert says that a lot of people aren't nice to him, and he understands the appeal.
This explanation shows that Albert is actually bothered by bullies; he just doesn't show it. His shirt likely acts as a reminder that someday, Albert will be able to remove himself from these situations where he's a target for bullies. Keisha's decision to look up flint, on the other hand, shows that she's genuinely interested in Albert and wants to get to know him, which will help the two become better friends.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon