Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Albert brushes off Keisha's questions about his new black eye and offers Ally a sign he made that reads, "Ally is your ally." He explains that Ally's name is a homonym. Shay waltzes by and says that at least Ally will get three votes, but Ally thinks that she, Albert, and Keisha are like the primary colors: able to create all the other colors. Ally tells Albert that she knows she's going to lose, but she's happy to have a poster. Albert tells Ally that she can keep it if she doesn't give up. Ally tells Albert that he can't give up either—he needs to stand up to the bullies.
Ally's ability to think of herself and her friends as being like primary colors shows that she also recognizes that the three of them do have the power to create change in the classroom. They can shift opinions about bullying by setting an example and by being trendsetters. As far as Keisha is concerned, this needs to begin with Albert standing up for himself—which will, in turn, send a message to the classroom bullies too.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Albert and Keisha give Ally one more pep talk and then, Mr. Daniels calls Shay to give her speech. Shay's campaign promises are impossible, like bigger lockers and extra recess, but everyone applauds. Ally feels small as she walks to the front of her class. She stares at her speech but can't read it. Mr. Daniels leans forward, tells Ally she can do this, and slides her paper out of her hands. He prompts her through her first few sentences and then Ally is talking on her own. She says she'd like to help magnify everyone's ideas and won't make promises she can't keep.
When Ally recognizes that Shay's campaign promises will be impossible to carry out, she sees where she may actually have an advantage: Ally can make promises she knows she can keep, such as listening to everyone. Shay's promises, on the other hand, symbolize how out of touch she is with reality and with her classmates. She recognizes that her promises are great in theory, but crumble under closer scrutiny.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Mr. Daniels says it's time for the vote and passes out scraps of paper. When Shay says that other classes are voting by raising hands and secret voting isn't fair, Mr. Daniels says he'd like to make it like a real election. Ally has a lump in her throat as she writes her name. The class begs for Mr. Daniels to count the ballots in front of them, so he does. Ally is surprised when she wins—she thought everyone loved Shay. Shay is quiet and glares at Ally, and Max suggests they throw a party.
Once again, Mr. Daniels seems to be aware that Shay would like to use the election to bully people, so the secret ballots are a way for him to rob her of some of her power. This suggests that Mr. Daniels is aware that when given the opportunity to say what they think about Shay in private, most of the class will note vote for her.
Themes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon