Laurie Halse Anderson's Paintings

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Painting is like keeping a diary on canvas. Art expresses ones feelings in ways words cannot. This is true for protagonist Melinda Sordino in the Laurie Halse Anderson novel about teenage rape, Speak. Anderson uses trees, mainly Melinda’s paintings and sculptures of trees, to chronicle Melinda’s growth in the novel. Instead of Melinda saying exactly how she felt all the time in the book, Anderson uses Melinda’s paintings to keep a diary of her emotions. With the trees, any reader can see Melinda transition from feeling lifeless with no hope and nothing keeping her going to accepting herself and having hope for the future. At the beginning of the novel, Melinda is painting trees that reflect exactly how she is feeling. In the chapter "Opposite …show more content…

She also struggles with the feeling of hopelessness. In the chapter "Coloring Outside the Lines," Melinda is working on her trees in art class and these feelings, along with others, are shown through her reactions to her work. She says, "I have already ruined six linoleum blocks I can see it in my head: strong old oak tree... But when I try to carve it, it looks like a dead tree... I can 't bring it to life. I 'd love to give it up. Quit. But I can 't think of anything else to do, so I keep chipping away at it" (p. 78). This shows how she wants the tree to be a perfect "strong old oak tree" and if it is anything different, it seems dead to her. This quote could be used to infer that she is picturing a perfect version of herself and because of what happened to her, she will not be that perfect version of herself that she wishes she could be. This quote also shows that nothing is keeping her going but that fact that she has nothing else to do with her life at that moment in time. From the passage, the reader can also infer that Melinda wants to give it all up, not just her art, but the struggle of her freshman year and living with the internal aftermath of being raped. Anderson uses Melinda 's struggle with trees in her art class to show her internal struggle of dealing with the fact that she was

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