Growth And Growth In Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

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Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle (Napoleon Hill). In the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, the tree is an important symbol of growth and courage through difficult times. The main character, Melinda, went through a series of unfathomable events over the summer that put her into a troublesome position. She was raped by a boy named Andy at a party while she was drunk. Scared and confused, she called the cops to come help her, resulting in her losing all her friends. Melinda refuses to speak up and tell anyone why she called the cops that night. “Tree” represents Melinda’s growth as a character throughout the school year as she learns to deal with what happened to her. At the beginning of the book, Melinda is given an art project to work on all year. She has to pick a word from a basket and illustrate her word in different ways. Melinda picks the word “tree.” Annoyed, she goes to pick a new word, but is stopped by her art teacher. Melinda struggles with her project, unable to make her trees look alive and un-child like. “I can see it in my head: a strong oak tree with a wide scarred trunk and thousands of leaves reaching to the sun…. I can’t bring it to …show more content…

She was found in a closet by the lacrosse team crying for help. Her peers now understand the reason she called the cops at a party over the summer, and what she went through that year. Melinda is making new friends, and forgiving her old ones for the way they treated her after the incident. Melinda understands what happened to her can’t be fixed, but it will help her grow stronger. “My tree is definitely breathing; little shallow breaths like it just shot up from the ground this morning….the new growth is the best part” (196). Her tree has finally come to life, it’s breathing and flourishing. Now that Melinda’s secret is out she has her voice back. She is growing and coming to life once again just like her

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