Trauma In Speak

724 Words3 Pages

Anabia Durrani
Mrs. Costley
21 April 2023

L.M. states, “Today in science class I learned every cell in our body is replaced every seven years. How lovely it is to know that one day I will have a body you will never have touched.” Melinda Sordino, the protagonist of the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, experiences sexual assault at a party that deeply and emotionally scars her. As a result, Melinda constantly displays two symptoms of assault throughout the novel, depression, and trauma, which drastically impact her character and life. To begin, Melinda suffers from depression, evident through her attempts at self-harm or suicide. For instance, when Melinda commits self-harm,” I open up a paper clip and scratch it across …show more content…

Hurting herself, like her nail and lip biting, is another way for her to express physically what she is emotionally experiencing. People around Melinda ignore her physical and emotional signs of despair. Instead of viewing Melinda’s scratches as a cry or help, Melinda’s mother tells her to stop because she does not have the time for such conduct. In addition to Melinda’s attempts at self-harm, Melinda experiences difficulty sleeping. For example, she expresses her inability to sleep when she says, “I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind” (165). Melinda’s inability to sleep at home prompts her to contemplate spending the night in a hospital. Melinda uses her sleep to escape her depression and misery. This harms her academic performance. Ultimately, Melinda displays symptoms of low self-esteem, blame, and …show more content…

Melinda describes her trigger as “A scream starts in my gut- I can feel the cut, smell the dirt, leaves in my hair” (81). When David cuts open the frog in biology class, Melinda freezes and begins replaying the assault in her head. Similarly, Melinda freezes and vomits when Andy gets close enough for her to smell him since his scent reminds her of the terror she felt during the attack. Melinda experiences panic attacks and feels like she is reliving the experience, making it difficult for her to function in day-to-day life. Additionally, Melinda develops mute symptoms and loses her capacity to communicate clearly. For instance, when Melinda describes how she feels when she speaks,” Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze. What is wrong with me? It’s like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis,” “I want to confess everything, hand over the guilt and mistake and anger to someone else” (50,51). Melinda can not find the words to describe the event of her rape and hence is unable to defend herself against unfair accusations made by classmates and instructors. Finally, Melinda experiences flashbacks and episodes of anxiety, particularly when she faces situations or people that remind her of the event. For instance, Melinda refers to a flashback, “ Mostly I just watch the scary movies inside my eyelids” (50). Melinda refers

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