Explain the importance of Maleeka's diary in influencing the events of the novel The Skin I'm In.
Maleeka's writing allows her to explore a self with strength. She reverses her name to Aleekma, and in a sense, reverses her self-image by creating an alter-ego. Her character faces unspeakable horrors below decks in a slaver ship. No matter the conditions, she stays strong and fantasizes about Kinjari, a fellow slave with beautiful eyes who watches her constantly. More than likely, this fantasy male is the reflection of Caleb, a fellow student who likes Maleeka despite her dark skin. Caleb is a sensitive, hard-workingstudent who is the opposite of many of his fellows in an inner city school. From Aleekma's strength, Maleeka can face up to the demands of Char and the twins and end up doing what is right. Ms. Saunders supports her is spite of her efforts to resist the understanding that she is beautiful and smart.