Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 48 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Oliver asks Ally what it's like to have dyslexia. He wants to know if she sees things backwards. Ally says that letters flutter, and Oliver's eyes widen with awe. He says that his letters just stand there and are boring, so he hates reading. Ally smiles, thinking that she's never realized how funny he is since she's been so caught up in herself. She looks around the room and remembers thinking that her reading differences were like dragging around a concrete block. Now, she realizes that everyone has a block to drag. The blocks are all different, and they're all heavy. Ally thinks of how Mr. Daniels used "grit" to describe the people with dyslexia. He said that grit is being willing to fail, and Ally thinks that she'll be bothered less by messing up now.
Oliver's question shows that he holds a number of misconceptions about dyslexia; this is going to be a learning process for everyone. When Ally realizes how funny Oliver is, it shows that now that she's doing well in school and isn't a social outcast, she's able to think about her classmates in a more meaningful way. This suggests that she may also learn to see that Shay is more human than not and is just a human who's making mean choices.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Later, on the playground, Shay comes over and asks if Ally sees letter backwards. Ally now feels proud of her dyslexia, but it bugs her when Shay says that her brother in kindergarten sees letters the right way. Albert says that seeing letters backwards is a sign of intelligence. He says that he sees some backwards and he's smart, so Ally must be even smarter. Shay bites and asks what letters Albert sees backwards. He says he sees O, T, A V, U, and others backwards.
Again, Shay's desire to feel superior to Ally manifests in trying to take Ally down, not just in trying to make herself do better. Albert's attempt to trick Shay shows that, like Ally, Albert is now more confident in his own social abilities and standing and no longer fears the backlash of standing up for others.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Shay stomps off, but her followers only follow her halfheartedly. Jessica even jogs back and tells Ally that dyslexia is cool, that Ally is a good artist, and that she's sorry for everything. Keisha turns to Albert and asks him what's up with Jessica being nice. Then, Keisha starts laughing about how Shay went for Albert's trick—the letters he listed are the same forward and backward. Ally laughs and thanks Albert.
Jessica's choice to come back to say something nice to Ally indicates that Jessica is finally willing to start thinking for herself and not following Shay blindly. With this, Jessica will be able to go on and undergo her own process of coming of age on her own terms.
Themes
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally finds a wooden A on her desk. Suki explains that she carved it for Ally from one of her blocks because Ally is amazing and she admires her. Ally hears Shay sounding unhappy across the room. She looks and sees a pile of friendship bracelets on Shay's desk.
The abandoned friendship bracelets symbolize Shay's final downfall—now, it's clear to everyone that nobody actually likes Shay or wants to be her friend.
Themes
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
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