Speak Questions and Answers
by Laurie Halse Anderson

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In Speak, who are two characters that cause Melinda trauma, and how?

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There are probably many characters that you could probably include in a list of people that caused Melinda trauma in one way or another; however, there is one character that should make every list. That character is Andy Evans. That should not come as a shock, as Andy Evans raped Melinda prior to her entering high school.

For a long time, readers do not know this is what happened to Melinda, but we do know that something happened at that party during the summer to cause Melinda a tremendous amount of emotional pain. As the story continues, readers begin to suspect Andy Evans of being the root cause of Melinda's emotional pain. She can't even call him by his name. Melinda calls him "It" or "Andy Beast."

Andy is the source of her initial trauma, but other characters contribute to her being ostracized. Many of Melinda's friends want nothing to do with her anymore because they blame her for the party's early demise, but there is one more character that should be in any list of characters that intentionally traumatize Melinda. That other character is Heather.

Heather initially reaches out to befriend Melinda, but Melinda and readers will learn that Heather is only looking out for herself. Heather is the new girl, and she knows that friends are important. She makes friends with Melinda because it is easy and convenient, and Heather drops Melinda just as quickly and easily. She even has the guts to return the friendship necklace on Valentine's day. This is a tough blow for Melinda.

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