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The Importance Of Trees In Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak

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Life is a struggle, especially in high school. There are different groups and different types of people. School is a challenge and getting through it is hard. For some, it is harder than others. In Laurie Halse Anderson's novel, Speak, the main character is a survivor of more than just high school. Her survival is explored through the trees that she draws for her art class, which show how Melinda feels and changes throughout the book. Melinda's trees are very dark and lacking detail in the beginning of the book. These barren trees reflect how she feels at that time. Melinda starts high school alone and sad, she has no one to talk to. Melinda says "it is easier not to say anything, shut your trap, button your lip, can it."(pg.9) Melinda struggles with finding friends. Her old friends have all abandoned her. In particular, her former best friend Rachel won't talk to her because she called the police at a party after…show more content…
The only way Melinda could become happy is if she overcame what had happened to her. Her father, using the tree metaphor, said "by cutting off the damage, you make it possible for the tree to grow again. You watch, by the end of summer, this tree will be the strongest on the block."(pg.187) This statement from her father is not only about the trees, but it is about Melinda’s own personal growth and healing. Melinda becomes more confident at the end of the school year. Melinda is now able to stand up for herself at school. She isn't afraid of anyone other than Rachel. Melinda's art teacher, Mr. Freeman, sees Melinda change through her artwork. Mr. Freeman said "I'm seeing a lot of growth in your work. You are learning more than you know." (pg.121) Mr. Freeman does not only notice the difference in Melinda’s artwork but also in her attitude and perspective on life. Her growth and development as an artist mirrors her growth and development as a
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