How does Melinda compare herself to Alice in Wonderland in the novel Speak?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

There is a definite allusion (direct or indirect reference to another piece of literature) to Alice in Wonderland at the very beginning of "Fourth Marking Period" in Speak. Melinda feels pushed out of her "shrinking" house, . . . I'm sure she's feeling the need to speak to Rachel about the evils of Andy.  Melinda puts it this way:

My house is shrinking, and I feel like Alice in Wonderland.  Afraid my head might burst through the roof, I head to the mall. (144)

Melinda eventually enters the food court and muses upon the author's choice of the small "cake" used to make Alice grow larger and smaller, . . . Melinda would have much preferred a large order of fries.

If Alice in Wonderlandwere written today, I bet she'd have a supersized order of fries that said "Eat me," instead of a small cake.  On the other hand, we're rushing toward summer, which means shorts and T-shirts and maybe even a bathing suit now and then.  I walk past the deep-fat fryers. (144)

After fully examining this allusion, the reader's imagination begins to run wild, . . . making the numerous comparisons of Melinda to Alice.  In my opinion, this allusion is included precicely because of Alice's inability to "speak" clearly to the obnoxious caterpillar.  Alice greatly desires to indicate exactly who she is, but is unable to do so.  This echoes Melinda's predicament exactly throughout the entire novel.

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meghu101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Well....there are many ways, I'm just going to say the basics of them....

Well, Alice struggles to fit through the door and Melinda & Heather struggle to fit in any social class in their high school.

When the caterpillar asks Alice who she is, Alice cannot seem to answer. All she can come up with is that she is a little girl. Alice's struggle with identity compares to Melinda's struggle with her identity.

Cheshire Cat compares to IT. He shows up at Alice's most vulnerable moments just as IT does with Melinda.

Then, Alice and Melinda both have a movement of empowerment throughout the novel.

These are the best I can come up with! Hope they helped!

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