Fish in a Tree


Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Fish in a Tree makes teaching easy.

Fish in a Tree: Chapter 50 Summary & Analysis

As Keisha, Albert, and Ally walk home, they hear a voice behind yelling for "brain" to wait up. Albert turns white and Ally looks behind them to see three boys running towards them. The bullies tease Albert about having a girlfriend, push Albert, and push Keisha to the ground when she stands up for him. Albert tells the bullies to leave Keisha alone as one of the boys dumps out Keisha's bag. Albert finally fights back: he pushes and hits two of the boys and when they stop fighting back, tells them that they're never to touch his friends again. Keisha picks up her things and she and Ally follow Albert.
The choice to finally stand up for himself and for his friends shows that Albert has finally undergone the same process that Ally did: he now sees that he's valuable, and that his friends are worth fighting for. This will in turn help him develop his sense of self-worth, as this one experience will help Albert see that when push comes to shove, it's important to stand up for what's right.
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Ally feels ready to cry as she thinks about all of Albert's bruises and the fact that the one thing capable of making him fight was standing up for his friends. Keisha compliments Albert on his strength and bravery, and Albert says that Albert's dad speaks against violence but also says it's wrong to hit girls. Albert stops and says he would've done everything to stop them from hurting his friends.
Albert's reasoning illustrates the power of his friendships: while this event will certainly help Albert think more kindly about himself, he also now knows deep inside that his friends are worth fighting for, no matter what he or his dad think.
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
At Petersen's, Albert seems taller and Keisha keeps acting out the fight. Ally pulls out her social studies homework and says that even says she only has to do half of the questions, she wants to try them all. She's discovered tricks that make reading easier and she wants to try them out. Albert says that kind of thinking reminds him of Teddy Roosevelt. Ally then compliments Albert for his bravery again, but Albert says that he's not brave like Ally. He says that he almost wishes he had dyslexia too, since some of the greatest minds in the world have it. Keisha says that Albert is a good friend.
Now that Ally knows she won't be punished for trying—and indeed, won't be forced to do things that make her head hurt or feel impossible—she has the strength to try things, even knowing that they'll be hard. When Albert admits that he almost wishes he had dyslexia, it completes the novel's project of looking at dyslexia as though it's a superpower and not a bad thing, which can in turn make it seem desirable.
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon