Theme Of Isolation In Laurie Anderson's Speak

736 Words3 Pages
Isolation is when one is set apart from others and is virtually alone. In Laurie Anderson’s Speak, the protagonist, Melinda, isolates herself and is further isolated from others. Isolation can be seen through three symbols: lips, mirrors and a closet. Melinda thinks no one cares about what she has to say, resulting in silence. After the incident in the summer, Melinda cannot bare to look at herself. A space where Melinda can physically be alone is what she needed to even more so build a wall between her and others, thus being why the closet is an important aspect and symbol. Isolation is what helped Melinda cope with her pain, this is what makes it the major theme in the novel. Melinda’s lips are cracked, swollen and scabby. Everyone…show more content…
Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. 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.” (9). Melinda hopes that if she keeps her pain to herself for long enough, it will eventually go away. By not saying anything, Melinda drifts further away from others and more so isolates herself. Everyone looked at Melinda like she was a monster. Melinda received looks from people she did not even know. This got in Melinda’s head and resulted in her feeling worse and she too, feared who she was. Melinda could not bear to see herself as she only saw an ugly person with many flaws. Melinda started to remove or cover any mirror she could. “The first thing to go is the mirror. It is screwed to the wall, so I cover it with a poster of Maya Angelou that the librarian gave me.” (50). Melinda was too disgusted to face herself. To try to forget and move on from being raped, she needed to avoid looking at herself and seeing the person she has become. Ever since Melinda was raped, she has been frustrated with herself and has not been able to face her reflection. This shows that she could not face her feelings. Melinda’s coping strategy was to avoid others and avoid herself. The mirror is a symbol for her emotional struggles and that she cannot deal with them. Although isolating herself was not making the incident disappear, Melinda thought it was better than talking
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