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The tree symbolizes Melinda throughout Speak, especially her development and her stages of grief. When Melinda first chooses the tree from her art teacher's globe, she is stumped. It seems like too simple of an assignment. However, when she draws her first tree, it is simplistic and flat. As Melinda develops as a human, deals with her rape and all its aftermath, and discovers who she is without other people to identify her, her trees also become more complex. Some are dark and rather Gothic, but slowly they become more full of life. A simple look at Melinda's trees reveals the literal seasons while also representing Melinda's budding hope fora new beginning(spring).
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