Character Analysis Of Rape In Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

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When people experience a traumatic event like rape many don’t speak up. They convince themselves that nothing good can come from vocalizing what happened to them. In the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Melinda Sordino, the main character, is a victim of rape who doesn’t speak up about what happened which leads her to become withdrawn, self - alienated, and dead inside. However as time passes she begins to show signs of healing, empowerment, and coming back to life. As Melinda begins high school she is haunted by what happened to her at the party with “IT”. She hasn’t told anybody what happened to her as she is still trying to sort through the rape herself, which leaves her reticent, isolated, and withdrawn. Feelings of isolation overwhelm …show more content…
She hits rock bottom, depression, anger, and anxiety overtake her, and “IT” is omnipotent in the eyes of Melinda. Melinda goes to work at her dad’s job because she is on her school break and her dad put her to work by letting put calendars in envelopes. However “IT” is constantly popping into her mind making her so angry that she cut her tongue on the envelopes and bled on many of the calendars. When her dad sees this he tells her that she needs professional help (Anderson 74). She replies to him in her mind saying that she would rather be in school. This though is a red flag because she is at the point where she feels more comfortable being isolated by her peers than she does in her parents presence. When Melinda returns to school there is an incident in her biology class which leads her to pass out. Melinda and her lab partner, David were dissecting frogs and she immediately connected to the frog because she pictures the frog as a girl who is lying on her back pinned and helpless. Melinda immediately associates this to what happened to her (Anderson 81). Her passing out shows that she is filled with anxiety and anger and she hasn’t begun to heal. Still her parents don’t help her and she keeps spiraling downward. For example, “mom finds me sleeping in my bedroom closet. She hands me a pillow and closes the door again…open up a paperclip and scratch it across the inside of my left …show more content…
When she is cleaning out the janitor’s closet she used at school for refuge, her adversary Andy Evans or as she calls him “IT,” walks in. He tries to attack her again but she gains this strength lying dormant inside of her and she is able to push him off leaving him speechless and put in Melinda’s shoes (Anderson 195). This event makes her realize she can fight her fears and by using Andy’s real name it shows that she is no longer living in fear of him. After this attack, everyone knows what Andy did to her and she finally feels comfortable to stay after school and open up to people without being afraid of Andy. Melinda stays after school voluntarily and finishes her tree. By pouring the rest of her feelings into her final tree she realizes that rape is indelible in her life and there is no avoiding that it happened, just accepting and trying to move past it. This realization also makes her understand that she will heal and everyone and everything has flaws and that is what makes them perfect (Anderson 198). When Melinda hands in her tree to Mr. Freeman he asks if she has been through a lot and she finally finds the words to respond “Let me tell you about it” (Anderson 198).This is a huge step for Melinda, even though

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