Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Ally runs into a bathroom stall to hide. Keisha comes into the bathroom and asks why Ally ran from an award. She's puzzled when Ally insists that Mr. Daniels was just trying to be nice. Ally asks Keisha if she expects her bike to fall apart when she gets on it. She asks Keisha to imagine if, every time she got on her bike, the wheels came off while everyone watched, and everyone thought it was her fault that she was bad at riding a bike. Keisha doesn't quite follow, but Ally says her brain just won't do what she wants it to. She also says that Keisha doesn't understand what it's like to be different and that Keisha being black isn't the same kind of different.
Ally's ability to articulate to Keisha how she feels about school through the bike analogy represents a major turning point in Ally's development. It shows that she's now willing to trust Keisha with this admission, as well as admit just how anxiety inducing school is for her because she can't trust that things will go well. Though Ally's comment about the hierarchy of difference is insensitive, it does speak to how big of a deal Ally's disability is in her own mind.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Keisha says that she and Ally are friends, but this is nonsense and Ally is being foolish for saying these things. Keisha insists that she's only different when people look at her wrong, and she doesn't care what those people think anyway. Ally admits that she just wants to fit in. Keisha is quiet for a minute and then says that she, Ally, and Albert don't fit in, but it's silly to want to be like Shay and fit in with her group. Ally finally comes out of the stall and thanks Keisha for being her friend. Keisha says to thank her for telling Shay that there's a spot on the back of her fancy riding jacket, as it'll be fun to watch her look for it.
By insisting that seeing an issue with difference is other people's problem, not hers, Keisha is able to find peace with the space she inhabits and recognize that she can't make everyone happy. Ally, on the other hand, still wants to make everyone happy, since she can seldom make anyone happy. Keisha's pep talk will hopefully help Ally find a happy medium, as Keisha's right that Ally will never impress Shay.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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