Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Travis Character Analysis

Travis is Ally's big brother. He's in high school, though Ally never shares what grade. School has never been Travis's thing; the novel implies that, like Ally, Travis is dyslexic. He talks about words moving and not making any sense to him, though Mom insists that Travis stick with school at least through high school. Travis's true passions are coin collecting and cars. He often takes Ally with him when he goes to pawn shops to purchase coins, where he proves himself both an adept bargainer and a kind and supportive sibling (for example, he buys Ally special coins to remind her of their Grandpa and that she's loved). After school and on weekends, he works at an auto shop and fixes up old machines to sell. His dream is to one day open up his own shop. This seems within reach for Travis until his manager has to undergo back surgery. The interim manager makes Travis look up how to perform repairs in a manual before letting him do anything on cars in the shop—without taking into account that Travis has an innate sense of how to fix the cars and, because of his dyslexia, surely struggles to read the manual. He becomes angry and withdrawn about this as time goes on, though he expresses interest in Ally's tutoring with Mr. Daniels. Finally, near the end of the school year, Ally asks Mr. Daniels if she can bring Travis to their tutoring sessions so he can learn to read too. Both Mr. Daniels and Travis agree, and Ally recognizes that Travis is finally ready to ask for and accept help.

Travis Quotes in Fish in a Tree

The Fish in a Tree quotes below are all either spoken by Travis or refer to Travis. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fish in a Tree published in 2015.
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Well,” the guy says, “if you know anything about coins, you know that a coin with a flaw in it is far more valuable than a regular coin.”

Something isn't right with it and it's worth more?

Related Characters: The Salesman (speaker), Ally, Travis, Dad, Grandpa
Related Symbols: Coins
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

As I walk back to my seat, I think of how when Dad left, he said that when we look at the steel pennies, we need to remember that we are unique, too. And also, that things will go back to normal for us—that he'll be home before we know it.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker), Travis, Dad
Related Symbols: Coins
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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Travis Character Timeline in Fish in a Tree

The timeline below shows where the character Travis appears in Fish in a Tree. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: Silver Dollars and Wooden Nickels
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Later that evening, Ally feels instantly better when Travis walks in, smelling of grease. He says he had a "silver dollar day," and Ally... (full context)
Chapter 6: Triple-Sided Coin
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Travis and Ally enter a pawnshop. It smells like old memories of Dad and Grandpa taking... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
The salesman pulls out a very small penny. Travis inspects it and asks for a price. The man reminds Travis that a coin with... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally is elated as she accepts the dime outside the shop. Travis explains that both coins were minted in 1933, the year of Grandpa's birth. As they... (full context)
Chapter 9: Bag Full of Nothing
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
...1943 steel penny out of her pocket. She explains that Dad gave both her and Travis steel pennies when he was deployed, and says the pennies are steel because the government... (full context)
Chapter 15: Ungreased Gears
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
...be hard, but she thinks it'll take her forever to write and be unintelligible anyway. Travis walks in the door happily but refuses to help Ally with her paper. He says... (full context)
Chapter 20: Is This a Good Thing?
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
After school, Ally is in her room when she hears Travis come in the door and call for her. He appears in her room with a... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...Ally feels as though Dad and Grandpa are there too. It starts to rain, so Travis pulls over and jumps out. He connects some springs and a rope to the windshield... (full context)
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...walks into the hallway before whispering loudly to Jessica that yesterday, she saw Ally and Travis in a disgusting and run-down car. Ally tries to ignore the, but can't when they... (full context)
Chapter 32: Screen Time
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
When Ally leaves school later, Mom and Travis are waiting for her in the car—they're going to a friend's house so that they... (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally and Travis leave so that Mom and Dad can talk in private. Travis tells Ally that he's... (full context)
Chapter 44: Tales of a Sixth Grade Something
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
Travis drives Ally to school because her book report project, a diorama about Tales of a... (full context)
Chapter 45: My Brother's Question
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Ally hears Travis chewing gum and tells him to chew quietly. Instead of firing back, he just looks... (full context)
Chapter 51: C-O-U-R-A-GEnius
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Ally stays after school waiting for Travis, who's driving her and her big project home. Seeing Travis, everything suddenly makes sense to... (full context)
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally walks back to the gym and then hands Travis the piece of paper with "possible" on it. Mr. Daniels arrives a moment later, introduces... (full context)