| Quote #7
"You're imagination is paralyzed" [Mr. Freeman] declares. "You need to take a trip. […] You need to visit the mind of the great one." (57.1)
Mr. Freeman is talking about Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), whose work really inspires Melinda. The great thing about art is that generation after generation can interact with it.
| Quote #8
Maya taps me on the shoulder. I'm not listening. […] I need to do something about Rachel, something for her. Maya tells me without saying anything. (70.6)
An unspecified book by Maya Angelou is banned by the school board. Maybe that's why Melinda doesn't seem to have actually read her work. Yet, she imagines Maya Angelou giving her some really good advice. The advice actually comes from inside Melinda.
| Quote #9
(We wonder if the book that the school board banned was Angelou's autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which Angelou describes being sexually abused.)
I look at my homely sketch. It doesn't need anything. Even through the river in my eyes I can see that. It isn't perfect and that makes it just right. (89.10)
This is Melinda with her final tree. She considers it "homely," a word with many meanings, including ugly, plain, and unpretentious. She's come to believe that art isn't always about beauty, or some elusive definition of perfection.