Fish in a Tree


Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Fish in a Tree: Chapter 36 Summary & Analysis

The next morning, Mr. Daniels calls Ally into the hallway. He says that he never intended for the sub to single her out; she wasn't meant to read the note out loud. He says he'd never hurt Ally on purpose. Ally is relieved as Mr. Daniels asks for her forgiveness and holds out his hand. She shakes it.
This experience will likely remind Mr. Daniels that not all educators think the way that he does about confidentiality and treating kids kindly—which means that in the future, his sub notes can offer him a place to teach this to subs.
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That afternoon as Ally and Mr. Daniels play chess, Ally thinks that Keisha is like a bishop—able to move quickly. Albert is a king; valuable, but very slow. Ally is the knight, which moves in an L shape. Shay is a queen, given her ability to scare others. Ally thinks that dealing with Shay is like playing chess, as she's always looking for a person's weakness, but the board is always changing. Mr. Daniels pulls Ally back to reality and Ally sees her move. She moves her knight and checks Mr. Daniels's king. When he admits defeat, Ally asks if he let her win. He assures her that with three little brothers, he's not capable of that.
By learning to think about her friends and about Shay's bullying in terms of chess, Ally is able to think about it in a way that makes sense to her and turns it into a problem she knows she can solve. This shows that Mr. Daniels has reached his possible goal of helping Ally feel confident and successful, as this will presumably give her the confidence to go on and better handle Shay's bullying.
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