In the second marking period of Speak, why is it getting so difficult for Melinda to talk?

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Melinda's mental issues are beginning to affect her physically - we call this psychosomatic. She describes the physical difficulty she has with speaking in this section of the text-

My throat is always sore, my lips raw. When I wake up in the morning my jaws are clenched so tight I have a headache...Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.

Interestingly she does not always feel this way-

'Sometimes my mouth relaxes around Heather, when we're alone.'

Melinda is probably suffering from what is often labelled as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is not able to verbalise her worst and biggest torment. As the events play on her mind she becomes more withdrawn and is losing the ability to communicate. It is only through the last encounter with Andy Evans in her closet when she can make him feel as vulnerable as she did, that Melinda begins to recover.

His lips are paralysed. He cannot speak. That's good enough.

Me: 'I said no.'

Once she has finally made Andy hear these words, she is able to stop punishing herself and is ready to tell others of what really happened to her and to move on -

It wasn't my fault. And I'm not going to let it kill me. I can grow.