In CLOSET SPACE, Melinda tries to enhance her environment. How does she do this? What does she use the space for?

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The first thing Melinda does to feel more comfortable in her new space is to remove the mirror from the wall. This is significant, as avoiding mirrors is a motif that comes up time and again in the novel. Melinda does not want to face what happened to her and...

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The first thing Melinda does to feel more comfortable in her new space is to remove the mirror from the wall. This is significant, as avoiding mirrors is a motif that comes up time and again in the novel. Melinda does not want to face what happened to her and that is represented in an almost literal way by her reluctance to face herself in a mirror. 

Since she can't unscrew the mirror from the wall, she covers it with a poster of Maya Angelou. This is important too, as Angelou becomes an encouraging force for Melinda. Her presence in the novel is also an allusion to Angelou's own past: raped at a young age, Angelou stopped speaking for a period of time herself and, like Melinda, found her voice again through art.

Melinda also does a bit of house-keeping in her closet, saying, "I sweep and mop the floor, [...] scrub the shelves, [...] chase the spiders out of the corners" (pg 49). Melinda compares the work she is doing on her closet to building a fort, which is a telling comparison. The closet acts as a safe retreat from the world, a place where Melinda can hide and nap and read and escape the responsibilities of her young adult life. It provides her with a place to be a little girl again. 

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