Speak Mouth Motif: Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

570 Words3 Pages

Jaidyn McClain


English Honors

February 22, 2023

“Speak” Mouth Motif

“It is easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it.” (Anderson 9) says Melinda. “Speak” a realistic fiction novel by Laurie Halse Anderson is about 14-year-old freshman Melinda Sordino, who had a traumatizing experience over the summer and is struggling to express herself. Melinda is alone and is battling her mental health. “Speak” is the story of how Melinda went from a disturbed, almost-mute girl, to finally finding her voice.

Anderson uses the motif of a mouth throughout the novel to track Melindas personal growth throughout the year. At the start of her year Melinda sees most things as a waste and her depression is evident in the motifs. Like when Melinda runs into a teacher and talks about her reason for staying silent, “All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.” (Anderson 9) Melindas hopelessness is felt in this quote as she feels that no one cares. Melindas hopelessness continues in her self-esteem, while looking in a mirror Melinda thinks, “and a chewed up …show more content…

Like when Melinda explains how hard it is for her to speak, “It is getting harder to talk. My throat is always sore, my lips raw. When I wake up in the morning my jaws are clenched so tight I have a headache.” (Anderson 50) Near the beginning and middle of the novel Melindas is mostly fixated on her lips and her inability to talk as we can see in this quote. Melinda often mentions how she hates the way her mouth looks, like when she is driving with Heather and her mom, “[I] hide my mouth with my fingers. The scabs on my lips look especially gross in that little rectangle mirror.” (Anderson 82) At this point in the book Melinda is still stuck being unconfident and silent. Her mental health hasn’t gotten better, and she is

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