From Anderson's Speak, identify a character and the lesson they learned.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that one of the lessons that Melinda learns is to never be silenced by individuals or a collective setting.  Melinda experiences the brutal end of the "tyranny of the majority" in her narrative.  One of the lessons that she learns is that she has a voice and while it might not be validated by the pervading social order, that does not minimize its right to exist and to be heard.  Through her confrontation with "it" at the end, Melinda learns to be heard, to use her voice and to not dwell in silence.  I think that this is one lesson gained.  I would say that another lesson Melinda gains is recognizing the value of isolation and reflection.  Granted, she is shunned by her peers and her society.  Yet, Melinda learns a valuable lesson that much good in terms of self acknowledgement, reflection, and rumination can take place outside of the social setting.  She endures much in way of pain, both inflicted by society and by her own self.  Yet, I think that Melinda walks away from the novel's end with a firm understanding of how important it is to have an identity carved separate from the "madding crowd."  In this, a life lesson has been learned and something that she will take with her the rest of her days.

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