Laurie Halse Anderson Relationships

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“Her eyes meet mine for a second. ‘I hate you,’ she mouths silently” (Anderson 5). This quote is one example of a young girl’s merciless high school society in the novel Speak, written by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halse Anderson was born in 1961 in Potsdam, New York and has since gone on to become a best selling author. She was also honored with the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards award and had her novel, Speak, become a finalist for the National Book Award (“Laurie Halse Anderson…”). Speak is a novel written about a fourteen year old girl named Melinda. The novel takes place during Melinda’s freshman year at Merryweather High School, Syracuse, New York in present time. Melinda is struggling to fit in to her high school society after calling the…show more content…
The way that Melinda’s parents are described helps the reader to understand what struggles she faces through them. Melinda describes her family by stating,“My family doesn’t talk much and we have nothing in common…” (58). In this example, the family is characterized through melinda’s thoughts. Her family does not communicate and it continues to hurt Melinda which is causing the conflict. The reader can clearly infer that Melinda’s thoughts and feelings about her family are negative. Melinda struggles with her mother’s inability to face the truth that they are not a happy family. She is upset that her mother is striving to keep the title of “a happy family” instead of creating an environment where a happy family could strive. Melinda’s parents are a large part of her life, and therefore, they play a major role in her society. The way that she describes her feelings towards her father is that he is lazy and unwilling to work seriously. She shows that by saying, “I glare daggers at the back of my father’s head. Angry angry angry” (74) after watching him in his office on the phone with his “buddies” (74) while he appoints her to complete his work. Melinda’s parents are mainly described through dialog. That is the defining characteristic that shows an exemplary illustration of Melinda’s struggle. It forces the readers to put themselves in her shoes and imagine what a life like…show more content…
Melinda mostly describes her teachers through physical features and dialog. She displays her social studies teacher as an enemy-like character using his blunt dialog to support her opposition towards him. “He remembers me fondly. ‘I got my eye on you. Front row.’” (7). She conveys him as a biased teacher looking to get her and other students in trouble. She uses physical features as a name for most of her teachers including Mr. Neck and Hairwoman. Melinda states, “My english teacher has no face” (6) as she describes Hairwoman. Melinda’s teachers cause many problems for her. They assign pointless homework and think unusually highly of themselves. Mr. Neck is defined through his interactions with one specific student, David Petrakis. David calls out Mr. Neck when he tries to abstain him from voicing his opinion on immigration. (56-57). This characterizes Mr. Neck as being selfish and biased. These defining character traits carry over to create a conflict with Melinda when she is forced to orally present her essay as a challenge from Mr. Neck. She retaliates and is forced into detention by Mr. Neck. His actions show the reader how he is causing a conflict between Melinda and her teachers. Characterization defines her society while symbolism describes her conflict
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