In Anderson’s Speak, Melinda is a complex character who goes through great transformation in the novel. In the beginning of the third marking period, Melinda is still very isolated and struggling internally with what happened to her at the party in the summer. However, she is still not ready to face the events of the party and how she was raped. She still does not want to talk about it with anyone. Consider what her silence represents. Also, how does she seek ways to avoid her own feelings and thoughts? She is withdrawn and silent both at home and at school. She likes to skip school and avoid the awkward glances, conversations, and relationships with peers. When she does go to school, she often separates herself in class and lunch from others. Also, consider how Melinda reflects back on happier times in her life when she was young, innocent, and happy. Why does she wish she could rewind time?
By the end of the third marking period, consider how Melinda has begun to face her personal pain and conflict. She is wading through parts of her relationships with Heather and David, but she is still struggling with feelings of rejection and disappointment almost daily. Trace the different interactions Melinda has that help her learn to engage again with others. Who brings her a little bit of happiness again? As school officials and her parents seek to help Melinda, she continues to find escape and solace in art class. How does her art teacher encourage and validate her? Also, Melinda finally connects with a school project on seeds in biology class; reflect on the various aspects of seeds that Melinda finds intriguing. Does she compare herself to seeds and growth? Finally, by the end of the period, readers find Melinda reliving the night she was raped. Is she is beginning to confront her fears?