In the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, what does Melinda's alienation from society reveal about society's assumptions or moral values?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In many ways, Melinda's alienation and rejection by the social order helps to illuminate the idea that there is a practice of exclusion and silence intrinsic to all societies.  The essence of the title, "Speak," deals with the reclamation of voice and the ability to be heard.  Melinda endures this on a personal scale with wrestling with the demons of her assault.  Yet, she also wrestles with this on a social level when she has to deal with the exclusion of her social order through peer rejection and through her academic order.  Her alienation proves that the practice of exclusion is present in multiple social domains, and in order for any progress to be noted, there has to be a conscious effort to understand everyone's right to "speak" and be heard.