The Reflection Of Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak'

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“‘Let me tell you about it’” (Anderson 198). These words were spoken by a character who struggled to find her voice but once she did, she grew as a person. The author who wrote these words is Laurie Halse Anderson. Born in October of 1961, Anderson has published many notable works as a New York Times bestselling author. She writes many novels on difficult subjects in society (“Laurie Halse Anderson-Mad Woman in the Forest”). In Speak, the main character, Melinda Sordino, was raped at the end of the summer before her freshman year. The novel follows her hardships as an outcast in the jungle-like environment of high school and her struggles to speak up for herself when she needs to the most (Anderson 3-198). In the novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson…show more content…
The tone changes throughout the novel from coarse and cold to encouraging and vibrant. Near the beginning of the book as the reader is still creating their impression of Melinda, the narrator says, “It’s an old janitors closet that smells like sour sponges… a cracked mirror tilts over a sink with dead roaches crocheted together with cobwebs…This closet is abandoned-it has no purpose, no name. It is the perfect place for me” (25-26). Described here is a cold, melancholy and lonesome tone that shows the readers Melinda’s true opinion of herself and her self worth. By gaining new allies and friends, finding a passion in art, and being able to express herself and confide in people, she becomes stronger. With this, the tone develops and changes while it slowly adapts when Melinda again talks about her closet saying, “I hang out in my refurbished closet. It is shaping up nicely… Maya Angelou’s picture watches me while I sweep and mop the floor, while I scrub the shelves, while I chase the spiders out of the corners. I do a little bit of work everyday… I bring a few books from home” (50). While also acting as symbolism, as a shelter for Melinda (which changes for the better as she does), the quotes about closet also connect to tone. As the closet becomes nicer and more comforting, the tone changes and becomes much lighter and more comforting. While she goes through ups and downs she becomes healthier and the tone adapts with her state of well being once again. The readers can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel when Melinda makes a discovery: “A small, clean part of me waits to warm and burst through the surface. Some quiet Melindagirl I haven 't seen in months. That is the seed I will care for” (188-189). This is the positive momentum with which she propels herself into her recovery as a strong young woman. The tone here changes and has a much more hopeful feeling. With Anderson’s unique style of writing she so artistically develops her theme that even
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