Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 37 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On Friday, Mr. Daniels gives his class a puzzle: they must move a chicken, a wolf, and bag of grain across a river, one at a time, and without leaving the chicken alone with the grain or the wolf alone with the chicken. Oliver thinks he knows, but he can't keep the chicken from getting eaten. Suki struggles, as does Albert, and then Mr. Daniels lets the class work on it on their own. Ally asks to go into the hallway to escape the noise, though Jessica and Shay soon join her. They think the puzzle is dumb. Shay holds up signs for Ally to read, but Ally ignores them both.
Ally's request to work in the hallway where it's quieter shows that she's learning how to advocate for herself to give herself the best possible chance of success. It is puzzling why Mr. Daniels let Shay into the hallway with Ally given what he's observed of her behavior, though it's also possible that he now believes Ally has the skills and the confidence to effectively stand up to her.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.
Shay moves closer, tells Ally that she's stupid, and says that Mr. Daniels is only nice because he feels bad for her. Jessica squeakily suggests they go back inside, but Shay snaps at her. Ally notes the fear in Jessica's voice and goes into the classroom herself to sit behind Mr. Daniels's desk. She reminds herself that just because Shay said something, that doesn't make it true. After a little while, Ally solves the puzzle. Mr. Daniels lets her help her classmates and though Max asks for help and Jessica smiles, Shay calls Ally a loser again.
Jessica's suggestion implies that Shay's reign of terror is almost over, since her most loyal follower seems as though she's not on board with this bullying. Whatever Mr. Daniels's intentions, Ally's ability to tell herself that Shay isn't always right shows that Mr. Daniels's lessons have given Ally the confidence to trust her own voice and turn off Shay's.
Themes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Mr. Daniels calls the class to attention and says the puzzle had two components: solving the puzzle and sticking with it. He says that regardless of how smart a person is, hard work is still important. Ally thinks that having trouble with something isn't the same as not being able to do it.
The moral of this lesson gives Ally another way to look at academics: she can succeed, she'll just have to try harder to do well. Especially since she was the only one to finish the problem, this helps her decide to believe it.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Blue quotation bubble icon linking to an important quote associated with this summary and analysis.