Characterize Melinda’s relationship with her family.

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Describing Melinda's relationship with her parents could be summarized  in the word "fractured."  The relationship between Melinda and her parents is a fragmented one.  They seem more concerned with navigating the difficulties in their own lives and in their own worlds, as opposed to helping Melinda navigate through her own challenges.  Their vision of child rearing is one in which the child is perfect, devoid of any troubles.  They are shown to lack the proper vocabulary or tools to deal with their child being raped and being secondarily raped by a social order that seeks to silence her.  Melinda holds little illusion about the fact that her parents cannot effectively help her.  At the same time, she lacks the desire to fully seek to give them to the tools to help her.  Between her mother seeing human frailty as mere "weakness" and her father who is more concerned with insuring others as opposed to his own child, there is little in way of bonding between them.  For Melinda, the relationship with her parents is more of a reflection of the challenges in being different in a world that preaches and values conformity. The silence in not being able to speak is evident in both the external world and the state of being between Melinda and her parents. While the former seems to be somewhat overcome in the course of the novel, Anderson seems to imply that there still might be silence that exists between parent and child.

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