Laurie Halse Anderson accurately captures the emotions and struggles of a school age rape victim through her award-winning novel Speak. Anderson is able to accomplish such an accurate portrayal of a rape victim’s struggles because of her personal experience of being raped as a freshman. She is able to weave her own story and emotions into her protagonist’s life, allowing the reader to draw parallels between Melinda and Anderson’s life. For instance, both Melinda and Anderson were raped by an older boy in their freshman year, and were both silent about it. In an interview celebrating the novels fifteenth anniversary, Anderson tells Entertainment Weekly writer, Hillary Busis, “I didn’t tell anyone for 25 years.” This reflects in her character, Melinda, as she also did not inform anyone for an entire school year.
Melinda was raped as a young girl heading into her first year of high school and what happened after that was a catastrophe and would change her life and her peers view of her. Melinda perpetually haunted by her treacherous past memories struggled to stay happy and sane throughout her overwhelming first year of high school. Melinda evolves over time as she longs to be her past happy self again she slowly but surely begins to regain her happiness and self-confidence. With life-changing events coming at Melinda every which way, she experiences the highs and the lows and finds little things in life like her extraordinary passion for art to help her get through the toughest times in her life. This story will make your heart melt with sorrow and compassion, but also bring to you a remarkable story with realistic like events and settings.
I can’t bring it to life. I’d love to give it up” (78). Melinda has changed dramatically, and this is represented by the tree she sees versus the tree she tries to make. After Melinda admits to herself that she was raped, Melinda starts to realize that
“Everything the people need.” Not having to think for yourself gets you in the habit of just doing. Never stopping to ask yourself, ‘have I done this already?’ ‘Is this wrong?’ ‘What about right?’ No, we only do, or rather the people from the book only do. Finally, you start to see how unfeeling Mildred is. This happens when she tells Montag he isn’t sick, and shows no sympathy for him. She stated, “You’re not sick.” Then again, when talking about the death of Clarisse, she states, “She was simple-minded,” “That’s water under the bridge.” These quotes show how Mildred feels no type affection toward anyone.
Even when they do talk about their objects, they don’t have an actual conversation because everyone says the same exact thing. (SIP-B) The characters also start to lose their emotions towards others. (STEWE-1) When Mildred puts in the alarm to turn in Montag for stealing books, she says “‘Poor family, poor family oh everything gone, everything, everything gone now…”(108). She is not upset that her husband will go to jail or be punished. All she cares about are her parlor walls, seashells, and every little object that makes her happy.
Melinda, the protagonist in Speak, is a girl who strongly believes that her silence is the ticket to freedom. She lies to herself about being okay with not speaking up, when deep down inside she knows that it is hurting her inside and out. Throughout the novel, it can be observed that her silence begins to have a major effect on her life. It is represented through a variety of scenarios; from gradual damage to her relationships, to her plummeting grades. As Anderson
And Heather” (Anderson 125). This quote shows that Melinda has no friends and is hated by many people, who she once called her best friends. It also shows how even her parents aren’t happy. Laurie Halse Anderson uses imagery by mentioning the thorn bushes and comparing herself to a hair ball. The use of imagery allows the readers to feel sympathy towards Melinda.
By using character development and dialogue Laurie Halse Anderson creates a lesson that difficult times can make someone a better person. Because Mattie is in an unfortunate situation without her mother or grandfather to take care of her she has to adapt and become responsible. For example, when Mattie’s grandfather dies, she
Of course at times individuals they would like to believe their judgment is better than people trying to help. While she faced questions from her female best friend this was said “You didn’t tell him you loved him, did you? She replied “Don’t even tell her the truth, If you do you’ll have to tell her that he said this: I feel the same way” (236). By this point she is lying to the people that care about her to not feel weak or embarrassed. So in the end the author is trying to conceal her identity from the world yet still trying to warn others about the possibilities in the world
However, when a women is looked at just as herself and not as a rich man’s daughter she is not seen a colleague to men but as an object that is to be pitied. Another example where setting comes into play is the mood created when Mabel tries to kiss Dr. Ferguson after he rescues her. He doesn’t want to kiss her. It takes everything he has just to look at her, but at the same time he can not turn away and escape the look in her eye (Lawrence 463). This creates a sympathetic mood because Dr. Ferguson feels bad for Maybel who has just become poor and attempted to kill herself.