Symbolism In Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak'

805 Words4 Pages
Symbolism is the practice of representing things by symbols, or of investing things with a symbolic meaning or character. In Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson uses literary devices to help the reader better understand Melinda’s personal changes and growth. Trees, lips, and coldness are all symbolically used to represent the changes of Melinda. Throughout the novel, trees play a big part in symbolizing Melinda. Melinda is constantly drawing and relating to trees in the book. She at first thinks the task of drawing a tree is easy, but she soon realizes it is harder than it seems. Melinda can easily picture a tree in her mind, but she can not draw it. This relates to Melinda before and after she was raped by Andy Evans. Before the rape, Melinda is represented by the tree when she says, “I can see it in my head: a strong old oak tree with a wide scarred trunk and thousands of leaves reaching to the sun”(78). Melinda was completely fine before the rape occurred, and she was happy with herself and her surroundings. But after the rape, Melinda is not happy with anything in her life and she is always stressed out. This is represented when she states, “But when I try to carve it, it looks like a dead tree, toothpicks, a child’s drawing. I can’t bring it to life. I’d love to give it up” (78). Melinda has changed dramatically, and this is represented by the tree she sees versus the tree she tries to make. After Melinda admits to herself that she was raped, Melinda starts to realize that
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