How did they express Melinda's feelings in the book Speak?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Melinda is the first-person narrator in the story, so we see things from her perspective only. She tells her story through what she's thinking, but says nothing about how she feels out loud. Her friends deserted her because she called the police after she was raped at the party. She really has no one to confide in, so the reader becomes involved with Melinda because we share her secret while no one else does. By speaking only to herself and the reader, Melinda's isolation from everyone is underscored. The author uses journal entries, school bulletins, and such to elicit a response from Melinda. She reacts inwardly to what she sees and hears. Her reaction to the mundane events of high school tells us what she's thinking and feeling.

Another way Melinda expresses her feelings is through her art project. This is the only class where Melinda can speak through her art, and her art teacher recognizes she is troubled. The author uses the seasons of the school year to represent what Melinda is going through also. She freezes up during the winter months, but as it gets nearer to spring, Melinda is beginning to thaw, indicating her need to tell what happened to her.

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