Speak Laurie Halse Anderson Character Analysis

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Selective Mutism

“I know my head isn’t screwed on straight. I want to leave, confess everything, hand over the guilt and mistake and anger to someone else. There is a beast in my gut, I can hear it scraping away at the inside of my ribs. Even if I dump the memory, it will stay with me, staining me” (Anderson 51). Melinda Sordino was the brave, resilient main character of Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, Speak. Her transition to high school was displayed in a series of journal entries, which provided a clear and accurate window into her psyche. Raped at a party before the start of her freshman year, Melinda was ostracized by teachers, classmates, family and friends, instead of receiving the help she deserved. She continued to be abused by her rapist, popular senior Andy Evans, and was plagued by flashbacks whenever she saw him. The cumulation of her trauma …show more content…

On a seemingly emotional high after attending a high school party as a rising freshman, Melinda’s world got turned upside down when she was taken advantage of by a popular senior jock. Along with the pain of the trauma itself, Melinda was reminded of her terrible ordeal each time she came in contact with Andy: “I want to throw up and I can smell him and I run and he remembers and he knows. He whispers in my ear” (Anderson 86). When Andy encroached on her sanctuary in the art room and destroyed her work, Melinda shut down and locked herself in her closet, where she “stuffed [her] mouth with old fabric and screamed until there were no sounds left under [her] skin” (Anderson 162). While interactions with others could incite her anxiety and feelings of depression, continued encounters with her rapist further aggravated Melinda. Melinda’s atypical, unjustifiable, maladaptive, and disturbing responses to her severe stress indicate that she had post traumatic stress

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