Sal drew a picture of a tree and hanged a person with curly hair with a rope around her neck. Who do you think the person was? What does this picture symbolize?

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The curly-haired girl that Sal draws and hangs from a tree is Phoebe. Phoebe has been staying the weekend with Sal and her father, and she is being especially impossible. She criticizes everything. The mattress is lumpy. Sal has not emptied her closet so that Phoebe can hang up her things. She has a headache; it might be a brain tumor. Sal is not a very good host. Phoebe tells her that she should make sacrifices, like her mother always did. Sal points out that it must have been a great sacrifice when Phoebe’s mother took off. Sal is really frustrated with Phoebe. In her book is a picture of a tree. She draws a noose around a curly-haired girl, meaning it to be Phoebe. This is symbolic of the negative feelings she has about Phoebe, who is not learning to handle her problems well. This is something that Sal herself is struggling with. In the middle of the night, however, Sal hears Phoebe crying. Sal’s dad comes to check on her, but Phoebe insists that she is not crying. Sal feels bad for her, but remembers her own time of crying after her mother left and realizes that sometimes you just have to be alone with your “birds of sadness.”

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