Fish in a Tree

Sketchbook of Impossible Things Symbol Analysis

Sketchbook of Impossible Things Symbol Icon

At the beginning of the novel, Ally draws all of her mind movies in her Sketchbook of Impossible Things. She often does this to avoid having to do her difficult classwork, which turns the Sketchbook into a symbol for all that is hard or difficult in Ally's life: her inability to read, her isolation, and her poor performance in school. Most importantly, the Sketchbook represents Ally's fear and unwillingness to trust anyone else, as it's a place she goes to escape having to tell anyone that she can't read. As she works with Mr. Daniels and gradually grows more confident, she finds that she needs the Sketchbook less and less, as things that previously seemed impossible are suddenly within Ally's grasp. With this, the Sketchbook becomes a symbol of who Ally was before meeting Mr. Daniels and getting help with her dyslexia, when learning to read seemed just as fantastical as the worlds represented in her surreal drawings.

Sketchbook of Impossible Things Quotes in Fish in a Tree

The Fish in a Tree quotes below all refer to the symbol of Sketchbook of Impossible Things. 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 45 Quotes

As I draw, I think about my sketchbook and how I love it but don't draw in it as much anymore. It used to be the only thing that made me happy. Now I have other things, too.

Related Characters: Ally (speaker)
Page Number: 228
Explanation and Analysis:
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Sketchbook of Impossible Things Symbol Timeline in Fish in a Tree

The timeline below shows where the symbol Sketchbook of Impossible Things appears in Fish in a Tree. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Never up to Me
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
...Ally sits, wonders what relaxing at school would be like, and wishes she had her Sketchbook of Impossible Things . There, she draws her mind movies. Mrs. Silver pulls Ally back to reality and... (full context)
Chapter 4: Bird in a Cage
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
...She grabs a napkin and starts to draw so she can put it in the Sketchbook of Impossible Things later. (full context)
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Bullying, Friendship, and Social Status Theme Icon
...is working on her art, and that he'd also be thrilled that she named the Sketchbook of Impossible Things after Alice in Wonderland. Mom reminisces that Grandpa loved sharing that book with her and... (full context)
Chapter 25: Celebration or Devastation?
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...award and thinks that this used to be something that would only appear in the Sketchbook of Impossible Things . She's happy she has her poem memorized when Mr. Daniels invites her to read... (full context)
Chapter 45: My Brother's Question
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...of talking cupcakes for Keisha's baking business. She thinks about how she still loves her Sketchbook of Impossible Things , but it's not the only thing that makes her happy anymore and that feels... (full context)
Chapter 51: C-O-U-R-A-GEnius
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
...her being happy in her future. She knows that those movies won't go in her Sketchbook of Impossible Things , because now, they're actually going to happen. Everything seems possible. (full context)