Fish in a Tree


Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Fish in a Tree: Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

During break time, Ally watches her classmates. They're all occupied except for Shay, who's just sitting and watching. Oliver goes around and asks everyone to put their arms up, spell "image," and then say "light bulb," and when they do, he jumps up. Shay surprisingly plays along, but she calls Oliver a freak after. Ally is happy to see that Oliver doesn't look sad after Shay says that. Ally wonders if Shay now knows what it's like to be alone in a room full of people, so she goes to talk to her. Shay looks upset and tells Ally to bother someone else. Ally is shocked, but then decides that Shay is the one deciding to be mean. She feels sorry for Shay.
When Oliver doesn't look upset after Shay calls him a freak, it shows that just like Ally and Albert, he is also benefitting from the environment that Mr. Daniels has created in the classroom. Because Mr. Daniels has told him that he matters and is important, Oliver now believes it and doesn't feel the need to listen to Shay say otherwise. Ally's attempt to engage with Shay shows how kind and empathetic she is: she understands that kindness and friendship can dissolve the loneliness.
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