Pessimistic Views Of Teachers In Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

736 Words3 Pages

When teachers provide enough care for their students, they are capable of helping even the emotionally distressed. When their students perceive that they are being cared for, they gain a sense of trust for these teachers and would be compelled to speak about what is truly bothering them. An example of this is clearly represented through the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The ninth-grade protagonist, Melinda Sordino, had luckily enrolled herself into an art class with a truly altruistic teacher by the name of Mr. Freeman. Melinda had become more demure and wan after she was raped over the summer by an errant student in the twelfth grade identified as Andy Evans. Due to this traumatic event, she had also developed pessimistic views of …show more content…

For example, the art piece she made with turkey bones, a Barbie doll head, culinary utensils, and tape had evinced her emotional distress. Mr. Freeman had seen these sensibilities within Melinda's artwork as well by saying that "[it] has meaning. Pain" (65). Melinda has an idea in her head of what she wants her tree to look like, which also symbolizes herself, "a strong old oak tree with a wide scarred trunk and thousands of leaves reaching to the sun" (78). Melinda can create this tree only if she becomes like this tree as a person by surrendering into acceptance of the atrocious offense committed against her and the scars that came with it. Furthermore, Melinda had admitted that she could “[feel] the wind blow and hear the mockingbird whistling on the way back to her nest. But when [she tries] to carve it, it looks like a dead tree, toothpicks, a child’s drawing. [She cannot] bring it to life” (78). She wistfully imagines confessing her distress, but she remains reluctant and retreats from transitioning into speaking again. There are many moments within the novel where Anderson uses symbolism to illustrate Melinda's desire to refurbish her life as this one, but it is hard for Melinda to do so without the choice of acknowledging what happened. Art helped Melinda to

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